Skip to main content

Full text of "August Vollmer: pioneer in police professionalism : oral history transcript / and related material, 1971-1972"

See other formats

University  of  California  •  Berkeley 

University  of  California 

Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 
August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 


John  Holstrom 
O.W.  Wilson 

Milton  Chernin 
General  William  Dean 
Rose  Glavinovich 
Gene  Woods 
Al  Coffey 
George  Brereton 

Thomas  Hunter 
Willard  Schmidt 
Muriel  Hunter 
Alfred  Parker 

Vollmer  as  a  Man:  Memories  of  a 
Close  Friend  and  Colleague 

Training  by  Correspondence:  Vollmer 's 
Influence  on  Orlando  Wilson,  Berkeley's 
Most  Famous  "College  Cop" 

The  University  Years:  Vollmer  as  a 

Vollmer 's  Influence  on  the  Career  of 
An  Army  General 

Covering  the  Berkeley  Police  Depart 
ment:  August  Vollmer  and  the  Press 

August  Vollmer:  His  Community  and  His 

August  Vollmer:  A  Man  of  Principle 
and  Action 

Looking  Back:  Ex-Director  of  the 
California  Department  of  Justice 
Remembers  His  Years  as  a  Patrolman 
Under  August  Vollmer 

The  "V"  Men,  Vollmer 's  Dedicated 

Enforcing  Prohibition:  August  Vollmer,/ 
Earl  Warren,  and  Willard  Schmidt 

August  Vollmer 's  Secretary  Talks  about 
Her  Boss 

Vollmer1 s  Biographer  Discusses  His 

Interviews  Conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

(c\  1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 

August  Vollmer  in  home  study 

August  Vollmer,  shortly  after  retirement,  1932 
Berkeley  Police  Department 

This  manuscript  is  open  for  research  purposes. 
All  literary  rights  in  the  manuscript,  including  the 
right  to  publish,  are  reserved  to  the  Bancroft  Library 
of  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley.  No  part 
of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted  for  publication  without 
the  written  permission  of  the  Director  of  The  Bancroft 
Library  of  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley. 

Requests  for  permission  to  quote  for  publication 
should  be  addressed  to  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office, 
U86  Library,  and  should  include  identification  of  the 
specific  passages  to  be  quoted,  anticipated  use  of  the 
passages,  and  identification  of  the  user. 


The  August  Vollmer  Historical  Project  was  initiated  in  the  Spring  of 
1971,  while  I  was  doing  research  on  the  development  of  police  professional 
ism  in  the  United  States  in  connection  with  a  doctoral  dissertation  for 
the  School  of  Criminology,  University  of  California  at  Berkeley.  My  dis 
cussions  with  police  leaders  such  as  John  Holstrom  (Berkeley  Police  Chief 
from  19^^-1960,  later  lecturer  in  the  School  of  Criminology)  and 
Bruce  Baker  (present  Berkeley  Police  Chief)  led  me  to  recognize  the  strong 
impact  that  August  Vollmer  had  had  in  shaping  modern  law  enforcement  during 
his  years  as  Berkeley  police  chief  (1905  to  1932)  and  later  as  a  writer  and 
educator  in  police  administration.  The  generation  of  Berkeley  police 
leaders  following  Vollmer  had  vivid  memories  of  the  years  of  innovation  and 
development  during  which  they  worked  with  him,  and  they  communicated  to  me 
their  strong  feeling  that  some  record  of  Vollmer 's  influence  should  be  made 
by  those  who  had  worked  closely  with  him. 

At  this  time  my  research  was  being  funded  by  a  fellowship  from  the  Law 
Enforcement  Assistance  Administration.  From  these  funds  I  set  aside  about 
$1,000  as  an  initial  budget  for  a  historical  project  on  Vollmer.  The 
project  was  developed  in  conjunction  with  the  Bancroft  Library,  University 
of  California,  and  consisted  of  two  main  aspects:  First,  collecting  and  cata 
loguing  materials  on  Vollmer 's  life  and  career  that  were  dispersed  in 
various  places.  Most  of  Vollmer 's  private  papers  had  been  left  to  the 
Bancroft  Library  upon  his  death  in  1955,  but  had  never  been  catalogued.  A 
considerable  amount  of  material  was  also  located  in  the  files  of  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department ,  which  I  proposed  to  have  transferred  to  the 
Bancroft  Library  where  it  could  be  catalogued  and  assimilated  with  the  other 
materials.  Additional  papers,  letters  and  photographs  were  in  the  posses 
sion  of  former  associates  of  Vollmer. 

Second,  we  planned  to  conduct  a  series  of  oral  interviews  with  former 
colleagues  and  friends  of  Vollmer's,  who  could  give  their  impressions  of 
Vollmer  as  a  man  and  as  a  police  leader,  and  could  supply  information  on 
the  specific  aspects  of  his  career  with  which  they  were  most  closely  con 
nected.  Because  Vollmer  had  such  a  strong  personal  influence  on  other  police 
leaders,  I  felt  that  these  interviews,  conducted  under  the  supervision  of 
the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  of  the  Bancroft  Library,  would  lend  depth 
to  future  biographies  of  Vollmer  and  future  studies  of  the  period  and 

It  was  soon  evident  that  available  funds  and  staff  would  be  inadequate 
for  this  ambitious  Job.  The  first  objective,  collecting  and  cataloguing  the 
Vollmer  papers,  was  limited  to  a  modest  effort,  in  the  expectation  that  the 
Bancroft  Library  would  be  able  to  supply  the  staff  to  complete  the  Job  over 
a  longer  period  of  time.  We  decided  to  concentrate  our  present  funds  upon 
conducting  the  oral  interviews,  and  received  generous  support  from  several 


people.  Mrs.  Willa  Baum,  Head  of  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  agreed 
to  provide  technical  assistance  and  guidance  for  the  project.   Since  I 
would  be  leaving  Berkeley  in  July,  1971,  to  take  a  position  on  the  faculty 
of  Trenton  State  College,  Nev  Jersey,  Mr.  Holstrom  agreed  to  supervise  the 
project  following  my  departure.  He  also  provided  invaluable  advice  about 
the  design  of.  the  project  and  the  selection  of  persons  to  be  interviewed. 
Dean  Sheldon  Messinger  of  the  School  of  Criminology  volunteered  the 
School's  clerical  support  for  transcribing,  typing  and  correcting  the  manu 
script  interviews.  Finally,  I  was  able  to  recruit  Jane  Howard  Robinson,  a 
fellow  graduate  student  with  whom  I  had  been  associated  in  a  professional 
program  in  India,  to  become  Project  Director  and  serve  as  the  project's  only 
paid  staff  member.  Mrs.  Robinson  assumed  the  responsibility  for  conducting 
the  interviews  and  coordinating  their  typing,  editing,  proofreading,  and 
final  preparation  for  binding. 


Our  first  concern  was  to  determine  who  should  be  interviewed,  and  how 
Jane  Robinson,  as  interviewer,  could  best  encourage  interview  subjects  to 
talk  fully  and  openly  about  their  work  and  friendship  with  August  Vollmer. 
I  drew  up  a  list  of  potential  subjects  who  could  provide  a  meaningful  per 
spective  on  Vollmer  as  a  man  and  a  police  professional.  Mr.  Holstrom 
developed  a  comprehensive  list  of  sources  of  information  about  Vollmer,  in 
cluding  retired  and  former  members  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  and 
other  friends  of  Vollmer.  From  these  sources  we  developed  a  list  of  inter 
view  subjects  for  Mrs.  Robinson  to  contact. 

We  developed  an  open-ended  questionnaire  to  serve  as  a  guide  for  the 
interviews,  after  consultation  with  Mr.  Holstrom,  the  Bancroft  Library 
Regional  Oral  History  Office,  and  Alfred  Parker,  co-author  with  Vollmer  of 
two  books  on  policing  and  author  of  an  informal  biography  of  him.*  The 
questionnaire  (see  Appendix  A),  containing  only  seven  questions  or  topics, 
was  used  as  a  tool  to  encourage  free  discussion,  not  to  direct  or  contain  it. 
The  questionnaire  was  revised  slightly  about  midway  through  the  project, 
since  Mrs.  Robinson  found  that  a  rearrangement  of  topics  led  to  a  smoother 
flow  of  conversation  during  interviews.   (See  Appendix  B  for  copy. ) 

Concurrent  with  this  project,  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  was  in 
volved  in  an  extensive  oral  history  of  Earl  Warren.  August  Vollmer 's  term 
as  chief  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  overlapped  Warren's  term  as 
District  Attorney  of  Alameda  County,  and  on  many  occasions  throughout  the 
years  the  two  men  worked  together.  Mrs.  Amelia  Fry,  Director  of  the  Warren 
project,  worked  with  Mrs.  Robinson  and  me  to  develop  some  general  questions 
that  were  asked  to  Voller  interview  subjects  concerning  Vollmer's 
relation  with  Warren.  Specific  topics  were  outlined  for  the  interview  with 

•Alfred  E.  Parker,  Crime  Fighter:  August  Vollmer  (New  York:  Macmillan,  196l), 


Willard  Schmidt,  as  he  had  worked  very  closely  with  Warren  in  enforcing 
Prohibition  laws  in  Emeryville. 

Interview  subjects  were  contacted  by  telephone  or  mail  by  either 
Mr.  Holstrom  or  Mrs.  Robinson.  When  Holstrom  made  the  contact,  Mrs.  Robinson 
called  or  wrote  to  confirm. 

The  interviews  were  conducted  informally.  If  subjects  asked  what 
preparation  they  should  make  for  the  interview,  Mrs.  Robinson  stressed  that 
the  session  would  be  informal,  and  that  they  should  simply  talk  about  what 
Vollmer  was  like,  and  how  they  remembered  him.   If  they  felt  a  strong  need 
for  written  guidance,  the  questions  were  sent  to  them.  All  efforts  were 
directed  toward  producing  relaxed,  informal  interviews  that  would  show 
Vollmer  as  an  individual. 

Thirteen  interviews  were  conducted.  One  was  inadvertently  erased,  and 
a  repeat  interview  was  not  possible.  The  final  volume  contains  twelve  inter 
views.   (See  Appendix  C  for  a  list  of  subjects  and  interview  dates.  ) 

The  interview  tapes  were  transcribed  by  the  School  of  Criminology 
secretarial  staff  under  the  direction  of  Mrs.  Linda  Peachee.  Mrs.  Robinson 
corrected  the  tapes  for  typing  errors  and  forwarded  them  to  the  subjects 
for  changes,  deletions,  additions,  and  corrections.  The  corrected  and 
revised  tapes  were  returned  to  Mrs.  Robinson  and  forwarded  by  her  to  the 
School  of  Criminology  for  final  typing.  They  were  then  proofed,  corrected, 
given  a  final  reading,  and  forwarded  to  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  for 
indexing,  copying,  and  binding. 

Taping,  travel  costs,  coordination  of  processing  and  preparing  the 
interview  volume  consumed  the  entire  August  Vollmer  Historical  Project  budget, 
as  was  anticipated  shortly  after  the  project  was  conceived  and  designed. 
Fortunately,  the  other  aspect  of  the  original  project  design  —  cataloging 
Vollmer 's  personal  papers  and  transferring  the  Berkeley  Police  Department 
papers  to  the  Bancroft  Library  —  did  find  support  in  the  Bancroft  Library. 
As  of  June  1972,  cataloging  of  Vollmer 's  personal  papers  was  almost  complete. 
Discussions  between  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  and  the  Bancroft  Library 
had  led  to  the  transfer  of  papers  on  the  Vollmer  era  from  the  department  to 
the  library,  with  cataloging  of  the  papers  to  begin  after  completion  of  the 
cataloging  of  personal  files. 

In  the  course  of  this  project  and  independent  work  on  the  career  of 
August  Vollmer,  my  own  dissertation  research  came  to  center  almost  entirely 
upon  Vollmer1 s  role  in  the  early  development  of  police  professionalism.  The 
dissertation  is  in  the  final  stages  of  writing,  under  the  title  "August 
Vollmer  and  the  Origins  of  Police  Professionalism,"  and  will  be  formally 
completed  by  the  Fall  of  1972.  The  Earl  Warren  history,  mentioned  above, 
also  contains  much  relevant  material  on  this  period  of  policing  and  social 
change.   It  is  my  hope  that,  when  the  Vollmer  papers  are  cataloged  and 
made  available  to  other  scholars,  further  research  will  be  conducted  into 
this  important  era  in  the  history  of  American  policing. 



Many  people  have  been  involved  in  making  the  oral  interview  project 
possible.   I  would  like  to  thank  John  Holstrom  for  his  continuous  advice 
and  support,  and  for  his  cooperation  in  contacting  many  of  his  colleagues 
to  arrange  for  interviews.  It  would  have  been  very  difficult  to  win  the 
cooperation  of  many  of  the  subjects  without  Mr.  Holstrom1 s  support.   He 
also  provided  the  highly  useful  list  of  interview  subjects  and  other  Vollmer 
associates,  which  will  remain  on  file  in  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office 
in  Bancroft  Library,  to  use  as  a  guide  should  funds  become  available  for 
further  research. 

Within  the  School  of  Criminology,  Dean  Sheldon  Hessinger  deserves 
recognition  both  for  the  initial  encouragement  and  advice  he  provided  to 
us  and  for  the  many  hours  of  secretarial  support  he  made  available. 
Ann  Goolsby,  his  assistant,  managed  the  funds  for  the  project.   Linda  Peachee 
coordinated  the  transcribing,  typing,  and  correcting  of  all  interviews  at 
the  School  of  Criminology.  She  and  other  secretarial  staff  members  pro 
vided  many  hours  of  cheerful  service,  despite  the  fact  that  this  work  was 
not  in  any  way  a  part  of  their  regular  duties. 

I  would  also  like  to  acknowledge  the  invaluable  technical  assistance 
and  support  that  made  the  production  of  a  formal  volume  possible. 
Mrs.  Willa  Baum  provided  extensive  advice  on  all  aspects  of  the  project, 
and  supervised  the  final  production  of  the  volume  of  interviews. 
Mrs.  Amelia  Pry  provided  questions  to  the  interviewer  that  helped  to  estab 
lish  the  link  between  the  careers  of  August  Vollmer  and  Earl  Warren. 

The  Berkeley  Police  Department  under  the  leadership  of  Chief  Bruce  Baker 
also  provided  the  project  with  important  support.  They  made  all  personnel 
records  available  to  Mr.  Holstrom  to  assist  in  the  development  of  the  list 
of  interview  sources,  and  provided  space  for  the  interview  with  Mr.  Schmidt. 

I  am  also  grateful  for  the  financial  support  that  was  possible  through 
the  Law  Enforcement  Assistance  Administration,  in  the  form  of  a  fellowship 
that  has  enabled  me  to  pursue  my  research  in  the  history  of  American  policing. 
These  funds  were  sufficient  to  permit  us  to  produce  this  volume  of  interviews, 
and  to  provide  a  beginning  for  future  research  that  may  be  possible  in  this 

The  primary  credit  for  the  success  of  this  venture,  however,  belongs  to 
Jane  Howard  Robinson,  who  provided  the  only  link  between  all  the  individuals 
and  departments  involved.  Her  skill  in  coordinating  all  aspects  of  the 
project,  from  interviews  to  financing  and  typing,  has  prevented  the  project 
from  languishing  for  want  of  direction.  She  has  used  her  good  Judgment  in 
interviewing  and  editing  to  ensure  a  rich  level  of  interview  material,  and 
has  coped  patiently  with  the  difficulties  of  administering  a  project  that 
often  involved  people  living  at  considerable  distance  from  Berkeley. 

We  are  pleased  to  have  gathered  these  interviews  together,  and 
hope  that  they  will  stimulate  further  research  on  August  Vollner  and  his 

Gene  Carte 
Assistant  Professor 
Dept.  of  Criminal  Justice 
Trenton  State  College,  New  Jersey 

June  1972 

C«ir*t    Id  •icracorr    '»  MrkeUy   FolU.  fckool .    l»l».      L.ft    to   rlfht:      Auau't    Voll«.r.   ».».J.   Wood.,   Capl.ln. 
Ox«r  futtk.r.    5.rg.*m      C.D.    L.«.    C-.oc.lo:  Walter    Jotw..m.    Fruk    lD§.r»oll.   ti*«rlat*id»t 

y  roc*  coo ,         «  ... 

...  c-.pc.ln.  Waller  JohB.ofi,  Captain;  rr««k  laaarootl,  li**rlat**d»t 

4 In,:   Dr.  *lb.rt  lchM|d.r. 

c  TolUar  »Uh  Cklaf  of  J<mlor  Traffic  F.-lu..  1M*. 



The  image  of  professional  policing  as  ve  know  it  today  is  largely 
the  creation  of  one  man,  August  Vollmer,  who  was  police  chief  of  Berkeley, 
California,  from  1905  to  1932.  Vollmer  was  a  tireless  crusader  for  the 
reform  of  policing  through  technology  and  higher  personnel  standards. 
Under  his  direction  the  Berkeley  department  became  a  model  of  professional 
policing  —  efficient,  honest,  scientific.  He  introduced  into  Berkeley  a 
patrol-wide  police  signal  system,  the  first  completely  mobile  patrol  — 
first  on  bicycles,  then  in  squad  cars  —  modern  records  systems,  beat 
analysis  and  modus  operand i .  The  first  scientific  crime  laboratory  in  the 
United  States  was  set  up  in  Berkeley  in  19l6,  under  the  direction  of  a  full- 
time  forensic  scientist.  The  first  lie  detector  machine  to  be  used  in 
criminal  investigation  was  built  in  the  Berkeley  department  in  1921. 

Vollmer 's  department  was  best  known  for  the  caliber  of  its  personnel. 
He  introduced  formal  police  training  in  1908,  later  encouraging  his  men  to 
attend  classes  in  police  administration  that  were  taught  each  summer  at 
the  University  of  California.  Eventually  he  introduced  psychological  and 
intelligence  testing  into  the  recruitment  process  and  actively  recruited 
college  students  from  the  University,  starting  around  1919.  This  was  the 
beginning  of  Berkeley's  "college  cops,"  who  set  the  tone  for  the  department 
throughout  the  1920s  and  30s  and  came  to  be  accepted  by  police  leaders  as 
the  ultimate  model  of  efficient,  modern  policing. 

Nationally,  Vollmer  worked  through  such  forums  as  the  International 
Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  serving  as  President  in  1922.  He  served 
as  a  police  consultant  in  cities  like  Kansas  City,  Missouri  (1929),  and 
he  directed  the  police  study  for  the  1931  National  Commission  on  Law  Ob 
servance  and  Enforcement,  better  known  as  the  Wickersham  Report.   He  con 
demned  the  corruption  and  ineffectiveness  that  prevailed  in  most  American 
police  departments  and  urged  professionalization  of  the  police  function, 
removal  of  political  influence  from  routine  police  operations,  and  the 
adoption  of  modern  technological  methods. 

Vollmer's  concept  of  professionalism  has  dominated  police  literature 
since  he  articulated  it,  and  remains  relatively  unquestioned  today.  We 
need  to  explore  the  origins  of  this  concept,  the  historical  realities 
within  which  it  developed,  and  the  police  department  that  served  as  its 

James  Q.  Wilson  has  characterized  Vollmer's  professional  police  de 
partment  as  one  that  emphasized  "efficiency,  law  enforcement,  aggressive 
street  patrol,  and  honesty."   Traditional  policing  in  the  period  when 
Vollmer  was  active  was  the  victim  of  political  meddling  and  inept  leader 
ship,  and  the  traditional  policeman  was  haphazardly  selected  and  poorly 
trained.  The  ideal  professional  policeman,  on  the  other  hand,  is  honest, 


skilled,  and  impartial  in  the  face  of  competing  political  demands  that  are 
made  upon  him.  He  is  trained  in  the  technology  of  policing,  especially  in 
criminal  identification,  evidence  gathering  and  investigation.  He  avoids 
the  overtly  coercive  aspects  of  policing  whenever  possible,  aiming  instead 
for  the  prevention  of  crime  or  confrontation  through  his  appreciation  of 
the  psychology  and  sociology  of  crime  and  criminals. 

August  Vollmer  was  born  in  New  Orleans,  Louisiana,  in  1876.   His  only 
formal  education  beyond  the  grade  school  level  was  a  vocational  course  in 
bookkeeping,  typing  and  shorthand  that  he  took  at  the  New  Orleans  Academy. 
His  family  moved  to  Berkeley,  California  in  1891  when  Vollmer  was  15.  Three 
years  later  he  opened  a  coal  and  feed  store  with  a  friend  and  was  active  in 
the  formation  of  a  volunteer  fire  department.   He  enlisted  in  the  army  when 
the  Spanish-American  War  broke  out  in  1898  and  was  sent  for  a  year  to  the 
Philippines,  where  the  U.S.  Army  was  engaged  in  warfare  with  indigenous 
Filipino  groups  following  the  expulsion  of  the  Spanish.  Vollmer  took  part 
in  river  patrols  and  participated  in  25  engagements  with  the  enemy.   He 
came  to  admire  the  organizational  skills  of  the  professional  army  corps, 
and  frequently  referred  to  his  army  experience  in  later  years  when  discuss 
ing  the  strategy  of  police  operations.  After  returning  home,  he  worked  as 
a  letter  carrier  in  Berkeley  for  four  years  until  he  was  approached  to  run 
for  town  marshal. 

Police  scholar  Bruce  Smith  has  referred  to  the  position  of  marshal  as 
"not  primarily  devised  for  what  we  now  know  as  police  work."1*  In  Berkeley, 
the  marshal  was  a  political  functionary  who  ran  for  election  every  two 
years  and  was  responsible  for  a  loosely  organized  body  of  services.   Law 
enforcement  had  been  lax  in  the  past,  and  Berkeley  had  acquired  a  reputation 
for  having  poor  police  protection.  Gambling  and  opium  dens  operated  with 
little  interference  from  the  authorities,  and  criminals  from  San  Francisco 
and  Oakland  found  the  town  an  easy  target.   It  was  these  conditions  that 
prompted  several  leading  citizens  to  sponsor  Vollmer  for  the  Job.  His 
backers  included  Friend  Richardson,  editor  of  the  daily  newspaper  and  later 
governor  of  California  from  1922-26;  and  George  Schmidt,  Postmaster,  both 
important  members  of  the  Republican  Party.  Vollmer  campaigned  hard  and 
won  election  by  a  margin  of  three  to  one. 

Vollmer  entered  policing  during  the  Progressive  era,  in  a  town  that 
was  known  for  its  reform-minded  citizens. ^  At  that  time  Berkeley  was  a 
town  of  20,000  persons,  many  of  whom  earned  their  living  in  San  Francisco  or 
Oakland  but  were  alarmed  by  the  corruption  and  lawlessness  that  prevailed 
there.  Only  fifty  years  before,  San  Francisco  justice  had  been  dominated  by 
vigilante  committees,  the  most  organized  and  powerful  in  American  history. 
The  current  police  forces  both  there  and  in  Oakland  had  reputations  for 
corruption  and  inefficiency. 

Berkeley  was  an  ideal  setting  for  the  introduction  of  an  honest,  effi 
cient,  technological  police  force.   It  was  a  sma.11  city  dominated  by  middle- 
class  business,  professional  and  academic  groups  who  supported  municipal 
reform.  Vollmer  was  able  to  provide  the  aggressive  leadership  in  policing 


that  the  community  wanted.  As  one  associate  has  described  it,  Vollmer 
"pushed  crime  north  and  south, "7  creating  a  haven  of  honest  policing. 
At  one  time  Berkeley  had  the  lowest  crime  rate  of  any  city  in  its  class, 
along  with  the  lowest  per  capita  police  costs." 

History  also  intervened,  when  the  San  Francisco  earthquake  and  fire 
in  1906  overnight  doubled  Berkeley's  population  and  began  a  boom  period 
of  economic  development ,  spurred  by  businesses  that  deserted  San  Francisco 
for  the  East  Bay.  Vollmer  turned  his  department  from  a  town  patrol  into  an 
urban  police  force  in  a  few  short  months,  and  the  community  was  willing 
and  financially  able  to  support  bond  issues  to  pay  for  his  innovations. 

Scholarswill  date  professional  policing  from  Vollmer *s  decision  that 
the  police  officer  needed  significantly  special  skills  to  do  his  Job, 
skills  that  could  not  be  learned  on  the  beat  by  a  recruit  who  was  indiffer 
ent  to  the  "higher  purposes"  of  policing.  He  was  awed  by  the  amount  of 
technical  information  that  could  be  used  in  crime  investigation,  an  aware 
ness  that  he  developed  from  his  contact  with  professors  at  the  University 
and  his  own  program  of  self  education.  Any  new  technology,  whether  two-way 
radios  or  computers,  required  the  retraining  of  existing  line  operations, 
and  suggested  that  the  occupation  may  have  been  significantly  changed  by 
the  introduction  of  the  new  techniques.  Old-style  policing  had  been  so 
inefficient  and  uninspired  that  there  seemed  to  be  a  radical  difference 
between  a  political  functionary  who  walked  a  beat  and  Vollmer 's  image  of  a 
trained  professional  who  attacks  crime  with  an  armory  of  technical  aids. 
It  was  natural  for  Vollmer  and  his  advisers  in  the  University  faculty  to 
overestimate  the  technical  and  intellectual  skills  that  the  new  policeman 
would  be  required  to  have.   He  developed  an  almost  visionary  concept  of 
the  kind  of  individual  who  should  be  a  professional  policeman: 

My  fancy  pictures  to  me  a  new  profession  in  which 
the  very  best  manhood  in  our  nation  will  be  happy 
to  serve  in  the  future.  Why  should  not  the  cream 
of  the  nation  be  perfectly  willing  to  devote  their 
lives  to  the  cause  of  service  providing  that  service 
is  dignified,  socialized  and  professionalized. 
Surely  the  Army  offers  no  such  opportunity  for  con 
tributing  to  the  welfare  of  the  nation  and  yet  men 
unhesitatingly  spend  their  lives  preparing  for  army 
service. 9 

What  we  see  from  the  interviews  below  is  that  Vollmer  was  able  to  transmit 
that  vision  to  many  others. 

From  this  enthusiasm  emerged  the  finest  police  training  programs  and 
selection  procedures  in  the  country.   In  1908  Vollmer  began  the  Berkeley 
Police  School,  at  a  time  when  most  departments  did  not  even  have  informal 
training:  officers  were  merely  assigned  to  a  beat  and  told  to  maintain  "law 
and  order. "10  This  first  school,  which  deputy  marshals  attended  while  off 
duty,  had  classes  in  police  methods  taught  by  Vollmer  and  an  Oakland  police 


inspector;  first  aid;  photography;  and  courses  in  sanitation  laws  and 
criminal  evidence,  taught  by  professors  from  the  University.  By  1930,  two 
years  before  Vollmer  retired,  recruits  were  receiving  312  hours  of  work 
within  the  police  school,  in  a  curriculum  that  included,  in  addition  to 
technical  police  subjects,  Criminal  law  and  Procedure,  Police  Psychiatry, 
Criminal  Identification,  and  Police  Organization  and  Administration.11 
Vollmer  himself  taught  police  administration  courses  during  summer  sessions 
at  the  University  between  the  years  1916  and  1931,  and  after  his  retire 
ment  from  the  department  was  appointed  a  research  professor  in  Berkeley's 
political  science  department. 

The  "college  cop"  program  began  around  1919  when  Vollmer  placed  an  ad 
in  the  campus  newspaper  inviting  students  to  earn  extra  money  by  becoming 
Berkeley  police  officers.  This  was  a  period  of  economic  recession  and 
many  students  responded,  perhaps  also  attracted  by  the  challenge  of  passing 
the  intelligence  tests  that  the  department  was  using  to  screen  recruits. 

There  is  a  gap  between  the  image  of  the  "college  cop"  that  emerged 
from  Berkeley,  and  the  actual  reality  in  the  department,  for  college  grad 
uates  never  did  comprise  a  majority  of  the  force.  They  did,  however,  domi 
nate  the  character  or  image  of  the  department,  especially  in  those  early 
years.  O.W.  Wilson  was  to  be  the  most  successful  of  Vollmer 's  college  cops, 
and  a  number  of  others  had  successful  careers  within  the  department  or,  more 
frequently,  left  for  leadership  positions  in  other  police  agencies  or  police 
education  programs.  Many  college  students  worked  in  the  department  until 
graduation,  at  which  time  they  left  to  pursue  other  careers. 

During  the  years  when  he  developed  the  Berkeley  department ,  Vollmer 
was  sensitive  to  the  importance  of  using  the  press,  both  to  maintain  com 
munications  with  reform  elements  in  his  own  community,  and  to  influence 
police  reform  throughout  the  country.  This  was  a  period  when  the  press  was 
a  strong  factor  in  California  reform  movements. 1^  For  several  months  early 
in  his  career,  Vollmer  was  the  subject  of  bitter  attacks  in  the  local  paper, 
because  of  a  disagreement  with  the  editor  over  police  policies.  Vollmer 
never  replied  publicly  to  the  attacks,  nor  did  he  criticize  the  newspaper  in 
an  attempt  to  gain  support.  The  editor  respected  Vollmer  for  his  restraint 
and  soon  initiated  a  reconciliation,  and  thereafter  supported  the  department 
strongly. i3  Vollmer  later  used  this  incident  in  cautioning  his  Junior 
officers  against  warring  with  the  press,  and  he  had  a  keen  appreciation  of 
the  process  that  we  now  refer  to  as  "image-building."  His  police /community 
relations  were  so  successful  in  Berkeley  that  the  mayor  described  the  city's 
policemen  in  19^0  as  "among  the  most  popular  individuals  in  the  community, 
and  every  citizen  (is)  an  ex  officio  champion  of  the  police  department...."1^ 

Crime  news  was  a  more  important  part  of  newspapers  then  than  it  is 
today,  and  the  Berkeley  department  had  five  or  six  full-time  reporters  as 
signed  to  it  from  Berkeley,  Oakland  and  San  Francisco  newspapers.1'   Before 
a  new  building  was  built  in  the  mid-1920s,  the  press  shared  the  squad  room 
with  working  policemen,  and  throughout  Vollmer 's  term  as  chief  he  granted  the 
press  open  access  to  police  records ,  so  lonp  as  they  respected  the  department ' s 
decision  not  to  publicize  certain  stories. 

Vollmer  was  making  news  in  the  Berkeley  department,  and  his  innova 
tions  soon  gained  a  nationwide  audience.  But  he  also  valued  more  scholar 
ly  and  professional  forums  than  the  daily  newspapers,  and  became  a  pro 
lific  contributor,  writing  in  support  of  his  ideas  about  the  upgrading  of 
policing  through  technology  and  personnel  reform.  Vollmer  was  well- 
acquainted  with  the  important  literature  in  criminal  law,  criminology  and 
social  science,  as  reflected  in  the  curriculum  of  his  police  training 
school,  and  had  a  long  association  with  the  Journal  of  Criminal  Law  and 
Criminology.  He  was  the  only  police  chief  to  be  a  member  of  its  advisory 
board  during  the  early  period.  He  developed  ties  with  academic  communities 
outside  of  Berkeley,  and  wrote  about  policing  in  publications  where  re 
searchers  and  scholars  would  read  his  ideas.  No  other  police  leader 
reached  such  an  audience,  and  Vollmer  soon  became  the  primary  spokesman  for 
those  who  worked  in  policing.   He  acquired  the  important  "face  validity" 
within  the  academic  community  of  a  person  who  could  claim  to  be  doing  as 
well  as  observing  and  criticizing.   His  critics  within  the  police  establish 
ment  were  seen,  often  with  Justification,  as  reactionaries,  or  merely 
Jealous  of  the  favorable  national  attention  that  Vollmer 's  department 
received.  Working  at  a  time  when  most  police  leaders  were  impatient  and 
resentful  over  what  they  felt  was  an  overemphasis  on  the  social  conditions 
responsible  for  crime,  Vollmer  succeeded  in  getting  the  International 
Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  to  pass  a  resolution  pledging  cooperation 
with  various  national  research  and  reform  groups. lo  In  effect,  the  resolu 
tion  called  for  a  redefinition  of  the  police  function  to  include  work  with 
the  intangibles  of  crime  prevention. 

For  Vollmer,  control  of  crime  was  the  first  role  of  the  policeman,  and 
was  to  be  accomplished  by  giving  him  better  organization  and  techniques 
than  were  available  to  the  criminal  elements.  The  other  principal  role  of 
the  policeman  is  discussed  in  a  1919  article  that  Vollmer  wrote  for  a 
police  Journal,  entitled  "The  Policeman  as  a  Social  Worker,"  in  which  he 
outlined  his  ideas  about  the  importance  of  crime  prevention,  especially 
with  Juveniles. IT  The  policeman  was  to  work  as  part  of  a  social  team  to 
identify  and  help  children  who  might  become  social  problems.  During  the 
same  year  Vollmer  and  a  Berkeley  psychiatrist  initiated  a  study  in  Berkeley's 
Hawthorne  elementary  school,  in  conjunction  with  community  social  work  and 
education  groups,  that  tested  all  the  children  in  hopes  of  predicting  future 

This  was  a  period  —  immediately  following  the  First  World  War  —  when 
crime  actually  was  increasing  at  an  alarming  rate,1**  and  Vollmer 's  emphasis 
on  crime  prevention  was  a  response,  with  the  tools  of  the  day,  to  a  legiti 
mate  public  concern.   It  also  reflected  his  long-term  interest  in  the  use 
of  psychiatry  to  explain  the  nature  of  criminality.  Vollmer 's  book  The 
Criminal ,  written  in  19^9,  was  the  culmination  of  a  lifetime  of  study  in 
this  area  and  he  considered  it  his  best  work.1?  Although  his  theories  of 
criminality  seem  dated  today,  they  had  a  profound  effect  upon  his  concept 
of  policing. 


The  Berkeley  department  also  served  as  the  training  ground  for  new 
Alameda  County  deputy  district  attorneys,  and  it  was  in  this  connection 
that  Vollner  came  to  know  Earl  Warren,  who  received  his  early  experience 
as  a  prosecuting  attorney  in  Berkeley.  Warren  has  said  that  Vollraer 
"excited  his  interest  in  a  host  of  problems  relating  to  law  enforcement 
and  the  need  for  improvement."20  When  Warren  became  District  Attorney  and 
began  the  "gangbusting"  raids  against  gambling  that  brought  him  fame 
throughout  California,  he  used  Berkeley  policemen  and  equipment  to  supple 
ment  his  own  small  staff,  and  locked  up  his  prisoners  in  the  Berkeley  Jail. 
Vollmer's  department  had  already  developed  the  techniques  of  investigation 
and  photography  that  Warren  needed  to  gather  evidence  that  would  hold  up 
in  courts  which  were  often  unsympathetic.   In  later  years,  Warren  and 
Vollner  worked  together  to  set  up  police  education  programs  in  the  state 
colleges  and  to  develop  state  law  enforcement  agencies. 21 

It  is  relevant  here  to  mention  Vollmer's  attitude  toward  the  "third 
degree"  technique  of  obtaining  confessions.  As  might  be  expected,  he  was 
strongly  opposed  to  such  police  methods,  which  were  in  common  use  at  the 
time  and  were  extensively  documented  in  the  1931  Wickersham  Report.22  Al 
though  Vollmer  opposed  the  third  degree  for  many  reasons,  including  the 
violation  of  individual  rights,  the  core  of  his  objection  was  that  third 
degree  techniques  were  the  poorest  method  of  collecting  sound  evidence  that 
would  hold  up  in  court.  The  ultimate  result  of  using  evidence  based  on 
"third  degree"  confessions  he  felt ,  was  that  suspicion  was  cast  on  all 
police  testimony,  whereas  he  believed  that  the  trained  professional  police 
man  should  be  viewed  as  the  most  reliable  and  neutral  witness  available. 
Critics  of  police  excesses  who  welcomed  Vollmer  as  a  voice  of  enlighten 
ment  were  right  in  perceiving  that  he  agreed  with  their  stand  against  the 
third  degree  and  other  brutal  techniques,  but  essentially  they  and  Vollmer 
came  to  this  agreement  from  different  perspectives:  most  of  the  critics  were 
reacting  against  the  very  fact  of  excessive  police  power;  Vollmer  was 
reacting  against  its  inefficiency  as  a  tool  of  law  enforcement. 

Vollmer's  enthusiasm  for  scientific  lie  detection  was  a  natural  outcome 
of  his  stand  against  the  third  degree,  and  he  never  lost  faith  that  new 
breakthroughs  would  eventually  correct  the  inadequacies  that  plagued  the  use 
of  the  lie  detector  in  criminal  investigation.  John  Larson,  a  "college  cop" 
who  built  the  first  lie  detector  in  the  Berkeley  department ,  later  said  that 
he  felt  the  technique  had  been  turned  into  a  form  of  "psychological  third 
degree,"  and  confessed  that  he  sometimes  regretted  having  had  a  hand  in  its 
development.2 3 

Although  Vollmer  conducted  management  surveys  of  numerous  police  de 
partments  during  his  long  career,  he  served  as  chief  in  only  one  other  city, 
Los  Angeles,  for  a  year  in  1921-22-   In  Los  Angeles  he  quickly  recognized 
that  the  reform  elements  were  far  too  weak  to  sustain  a  Berkeley-style 
department,  and  he  concentrated  his  efforts  on  upgrading  middle-management 
personnel,  creating  a  cadre  of  committed  officers  who  had  a  long-term  impact 
as  they  rose  to  positions  of  leadership.  This  was  typical  of  Vollmer's 
approach  to  personnel  management ,  for  although  he  constantly  stressed  the 
importance  of  training  the  line  officer  —  the  patrolman  on  the  beat  — ,  he 


devoted  most  of  his  own  energies  to  training  police  executives.  He  worked 
to  instill  within  police  leadership  a  commitment  to  professional  ideals, 
probably  because  he  sensed  that  the  internal  pressure  for  reform  and  high 
standards  would  have  to  be  strong  enough  to  counteract  the  competing  ex 
ternal  political  demands  that  he  regarded  as  illegitimate. 

August  Vollmer  worked  for  police  reform  throughout  the  first  half  of 
this  century.  His  ideas  were  promulgated  through  the  police  executives  he 
trained;  through  professional  groups  like  the  International  Association  of 
Chiefs  of  Police;  through  scholarly  Journals  and  societies;  and  through 
government  surveys  and  reports,  most  notably  the  Wickersham  Report.   Both 
the  regional  and  national  press  publicized  the  advanced  practices  of  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department,  and  urban  crime  commissions  and  police  depart 
ments  requested  Vollmer *s  services  as  a  consultant. 

Vollmer1 s  professionalism  was  rooted  in  the  freedom  of  the  police  from 
political  interference;  it  stressed  technical  innovations  in  patrol,  communi 
cations  and  investigation,  and  required  a  skilled,  dedicated  police  officer. 
It  also  offered  more  for  the  working  policeman,  by  emphasizing  improved 
wages,  modern  facilities,  and  the  dignity  of  performing  an  important  service. 
The  police  field  was  rich  ground  for  the  application  of  new  technical  ad 
vances  which  met  the  needs  of  Americans  living  in  an  urban  environment. 
Crime  was  increasing,  institutions  were  being  reshaped,  and  a  better  organ 
ized,  honest  and  skilled  police  could  protect  important  community  interests 
from  social  turmoil. 

Vollmer 's  true  impact  can  best  be  understood  by  reading  through  the 
following  interviews.  His  influence  touched  not  only  his  "college  cops," 
but  also  several  generations  of  police  leaders  and  writers  in  the  field. 
Don  L.  Kooken,  Rollin  Perkins,  William  A.  Westley,  James  Q.  Wilson  and 
A.C.  Germann  are  among  those  who  have  acknowledged  Vollmer 's  importance  in 
establishing  standards  for  professional  policing. 

Many  of  his  innovations  were  based  on  ideas  that  may  be  traced  to  others, 
ideas  that  came  from  his  associates,  from  police  experiences  in  other 
countries,  and  from  academic  sources.  Vollmer  recognized  the  potential  of 
these  ideas  and  unified  them  into  a  working  whole,  using  his  energy  and 
dedication  to  set  a  pattern  for  police  reform  that  continues  to  this  day. 

Gene  Carte 
Assistant  Professor 
Department  of  Criminal  Justice 
Trenton  State  College,  New  Jersey 

June  1972 



1.  Biographical  material  on  August  Vollmer  and  the  history  of  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department  is  taken  from  the  following  sources:  Albert  Deutsch, 

The  Trouble  vith  Cops  (New  York:  Crown  Publishers,  195M ;  J.D.  Holstrom, 
"Supplement:  Some  Sources  of  Information,"  prepared  for  the  August  Vollmer 
Historical  Project.  Oral  History  Section,  Bancroft  Library,  University  of 
California  at  Berkeley,  1971;  Alfred  E.  Parker,  Crime  Fighter:  August  Vollmer 
(New  York:  Macmillan,  196l);  and  unpublished  interviews  conducted  for  the 
August  Vollmer  Historical  Project,  op.  cit . 

2.  National  Commission  on  Law  Observance  and  Enforcement,  Report  on  Police 
(Washington,  D.C. :  U.S.  Government  Printing  Office,  1931). 

3.  In  the  Introduction  to  August  Vollmer 's  The  Police  and  Modern  Society 
(Montclair,  N.J.:  Patterson  Smith,  1971),  p.  v. 

U.  Bruce  Smith,  Police  Systems  in  the  United  States,  2nd  Rev.  Ed.  (New  York: 
Harper  and  Bros. ,  I960),  p.  v. 

5.  See  George  E.  Mowry,  The  California  Progressives  (Quadrangle  Books, 
1963),  p.  86. 

6.  See  R.M.  Brown,  "The  American  Vigilante  Tradition,"  in  Graham  and  Gurr, 
The  History  of  Violence  in  America  (New  York:  Bantam,  1969),  p.  162. 

7.  John  D.  Holstrom,  interview  with  the  August  Vollmer  Historical  Project, 
op.  cit.  ,  1971 • 

8.  V.A.  Leonard,  Police  Organization  and  Management,  2nd  Ed.  (Brooklyn: 
Foundation  Press,  1961*),  pp.  93-1*. 

9.  Letter  written  from  Chicago  to  Acting  Chief  Jack  Greening,  Oct.  15,  1930, 
Bancroft  Library. 

10.  For  example,  see  the  story  related  by  Deutsch,  op.  c  it .  ,  p.  226. 

11.  Allen  Gammage,  Police  Training  in  the  United  States  (Springfield,  111.: 
Charles  C.  Thomas,  1963),  p.  9- 

12.  Mowry,  op_.  cit.  ,  pp.  21,  87-88. 

13.  Holstrom. interview,  op.  cit. 

lU.  Frank  S.  Gains,  Mayor  of  Berkeley,  "Berkeley:  Athens  of  the  West,"  in 
Western  City,  XVI,  1,  (January  19^0). 

15.  Rose  Glavinovich,  interview  1rith  the  August  Vollmer  Historical  Project, 
op_.  cit.  ,  1971 . 


16.  Journal  of  the  American  Institute  qf^Crjjiinal  Lav  and  Criminology  t 
XI,  2,  (August  1920),  pp.  loTPTO.  " 

IT.  The  Policemen's  Nevs.  June  1919. 

18.  W.P.A.  Writer's  Project,  Berkeley:  The  First  Seventy-Five  Years 
(Berkeley,  Calif.:  191*!),  p.  129." 

19.  See  Fred  P.  Graham,  "A  Contemporary  History  of  American  Crime,"  in 
Graham  and  Gurr,  op.  cit.  ,  p.  U90. 

20.  The  Criminal  (Brooklyn:  The  Foundation  Press,  19^9) . 

21.  John  Kenney,  The  California  Police  (Springfield,  111.:  Charles  C. 
Thomas,  196U),  p.  2U. 

22.  Raid.,  pp.  23-5. 

23.  National  Commission  on  Law  Observance  and  Enforcement,  Report  on 
Lawlessness  in  Lav  Enforcement  (Washington,  D.C.:  U.S.  Government  Printing 
Office,  1931). 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 

John  Holstrom 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

(c)  1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


John  Holstrom  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part  of  a  series  on 
the  personal  and  professional  life  of  August  Vollraer.  Mr.  Holstrom  was  a 
close  personal  friend  and  professional  colleague  of  Vollmer's  for  many 
years.  He  followed  in  his  path,  serving  as  Berkeley  Police  Chief  from 
19UU-60.  Mr.  Holstrom  also  served  as  project  supervisor  for  this  interview 

Interviewer : 

Time  and  Setting  of 
the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

Two  interviews  were  conducted  vith  John  Holstrom,  on 
June  29  and  June  30.  1971.  The  interviews  were  held 
with  Mr.  Holstrom  in  the  School  of  Criminology,  Uni 
versity  of  California,  Berkeley^Office.  The  first 
session  began  at  1:30  p.m.  and  ended  at  3:30  p.m.  The 
second  started  at  ^4:00  p.m.  and  ended  at  6:00  p.m. 

Editing:  Editing  of  the  transcribed  tapes  was  done  by  Jane 

Howard.   Punctuation,  paragraphing  and  spelling  were 
corrected.  Blanks  left  in  the  draft  manuscript  by  the 
typists  were  filled  in. 

Mr.  Holstrom  also  reviewed  the  manuscript  and  eliminated 
some  brief  sections  where  the  same  material  had  appeared 
twice  in  the  interview.   He  changed  some  phrases  and 
words  for  clarity,  and  corrected  some  misspelled  names. 
The  changes  were  not  major. 

Narrative  Account 

of  Mr.  Holstrom  and  John  Kolstrom  was  a  police  professional  for  forty  years. 

the  Progress  of      Born  in  Minneapolis  in  1909,  Holstrom  received  his  B.A. 

the  Interview:      degree  from  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley  in 

1930.  He  Joined  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  in  1931 
and  worked  his  way  up  to  Chief  by  19UU.  He  served  as 
Chief  of  Police  from  191*1*-1960. 

Concurrent  with  his  term  as  police  chief,  Mr.  Holstrom 
served  on  the  University  of  California,  Berkeley  Political 
Science  Department  faculty  and,  after  it  was  formed,  the 
University  of  California,  Berkeley  School  of  Criminology 
faculty.  He  also  worked  as  a  police  consultant  serving 
a  broad  range  of  federal,  state,  county,  and  city  de 
partments  and  community  agencies. 


John  Holstrom  (contd. ) 

Mr.  Holstrom  is  currently  a  partner  in  the  firm, 
Associated  Law  Enforcement  Consultants,  Berkeley. 

Mr.  Holstrom  begins  the  interview  with  brief  biographi 
cal  sketches  and  an  account  of  how  the  August  Vollmer 
project  got  started.  He  reviews  the  contents  of  his 
reference  guide  to  the  project. 

The  interview  then  follows  the  questionnaire  outline. 
In  response  to  the  question  on  how  he  became  acquainted 
with  Mr.  Vollmer,  Holstrom  explains  that  he  decided  to 
take  a  summer  session  course  from  Vollmer  out  of 
interest  in  a  subject  about  which  he  knew  little.   He 
was  so  impressed  with  Vollmer  that  he  switched  career 
plans  and  went  into  policing. 

Mr.  Holstrom  describes  many  of  Vollmer 's  outstanding 
characteristics:  his  athletic  abilities,  his  compassion 
for  others,  his  integrity,  his  commanding  presence,  his 
creativity  and  intelligence. 

In  recalling  anecdotes,  Mr.  Holstrom  remembers  many 
occasions  when  meetings  and  parties  would  be  interrupted 
by  children  who  came  to  visit  Vollmer.  Holstrom  speaks 
of  Vollmer' s  lack  of  prejudice,  and  his  way  of  encour 
aging  people  to  use  their  abilities  fully.   He  remembers 
the  many  Chinese  police  officials  who  studied  under  or 
visited  Vollmer. 

Mr.  Holstrom  also  recalls  a  grudge  carried  by  San 
Francisco  Police  Chief  Dullea  toward  Vollmer,  and  a 
later  reconciliation  when  Vollmer  broke  the  silent  feud 
to  help  Holstrom  gain  entry  into  the  inner  circles  of 
the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police. 

The  interview  turns  to  a  brief  review  of  Holstrom' s 
personal  history.  There  is  discussion  of  how  unusual 
Vollmer 's  "college  cops"  were  for  their  time,  and 
resentment  toward  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  by 
other  bay  area  police  departments.  Mr.  Holstrom  then 
talks  about  Vollmer' s  unusually  good  relationship  with 
local  press. 

Mr.  Holstrom  discusses  Vollmer1 s  mental  qualities, 
particularly  his  creativeness  and  ability  to  innovate. 
He  emphasizes  that  Vollmer  did  not  care  who  got  credit 


John  liol  strom  (contd.  ) 

for  the  innovations  his  department  introduced;  his 
concern  was  simply  to  see  that  new  ideas  were 
developed.  He  mentions  Vollmer's  firm  opposition  to 
the  use  of  force  to  gain  confessions  and  discusses 
his  pqlicy  prohibiting  his  men  from  taking  any 

Mr.  Holstrom  turns  to  the  question  of  Vollmer's  impact 
on  policing,  and  discusses  his  surveys.  He  also 
explains  the  history  of  the  establishment  of  the 
University  of  California,  Berkeley  School  of  Crimi 

The  tape  then  includes  Holstrom' s  recollections  of 
phrases  for  which  Vollmer  was  known,  such  as  "kill 
them  [the  public]  with  kindness". 

Holstrom  discusses  Vollmer's  Influence  in  Berkeley: 
his  successful  crackdown  on  gambling  and  prostitution 
within  Berkeley  and  his  ability  to  respond  to  what 
the  community  wanted  done.  He  explains  that 
August  Vollmer  trained  many  of  the  men  who  later 
became  leaders  in  Alameda  County  policing,  and,  in 
fact,  in  law  enforcement  throughout  the  country. 

Holstrom  explains  techniques  Vollmer  used  to  accomplish 
some  of  his  legislative  goals.  The  tape  then  includes 
discussion  of  Vollmer's  participation  on  the  Wickersman 
Commission.  Brief  mention  is  made  of  an  incident  in 
volving  the  International  Workers  of  the  World. 
Holstrom  describes  Vollmer's  use  of  psychiatrists  and 
psychiatric  diagnostic  techniques  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department. 

The  tape  closes  with  a  lengthy  description  of 
Mr.  Vollmer's  death  and  the  months  preceding  it  when 
Holstrom  and  others  began  to  suspect  Vollmer  would 
commit  suicide.  He  recounts  Vollmer's  thoroughness 
and  orderliness  in  preparing  for  his  death. 

Jane  Howard 

HOLSTROM:   This  is  a  recording  concerning  the  August  Vollmer  Oral  History 
Project.   It  is  an  interview  by  Miss  Jane  Howard  with  John  D. 
Holstrom  on  the  afternoon  of  Tuesday,  June  29,  1971. 

Under  the  caption  of  introduction  I  should  like  to  say  that  I 
am  considerably  heartened  that  at  last  such  a  renowned  insti 
tution  as  the  Bancroft  Library  has  prepared  to  undertake  a 
history  of  August  Vollmer.   I  would  like  to  contribute  to  it 
in  any  way  that  I  can. 

For  personal  identification  as  concerns  my  own  career,  I 
should  say  that  after  being  graduated  from  the  University  of 
California  in  1930,  I  became  a  policeman  in  Berkeley  in  1931; 
a  Sergeant  in  193*»,  a  Lieutenant  in  1937;  then  was  Chief  of 
Police  from  19M  to  I960,  when  I  retired  for  length  of  service. 
Concurrently,  and  afterwards,  I  have  been  a  part-time  Lecturer 
in  the  Political  Science  Department  and  then  in  the  School  of 
Criminology  at  Berkeley,  beginning  in  19^5;  and  I  will  end  25 
years  of  that  service  in  June  1971.   I  have  handed  Miss  Howard 
a  very  detailed  sheet  of  personal  biographical  information 
which  could  be  used  if  desired  for  reference  by  anyone  inte 
rested  in  my  identity  as  a  speaker  on  this  tape. 

By  way  of  introduction  also,  in  preparation  for  this  interview 
Mr.  Carte  and  Miss  Howard  handed  me  a  suggested  outline  of 
subject  material  that  might  be  included  in  this  interview.   In 
the  week  or  so  which  has  intervened  I  have  prepared  for  reference 
for  this  interview  and,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  for  this  project, 
the  draft  of  a  paper  which  is  identified  as  DRAFT  on  June  29,  1971, 
which  is  some  27  pages  in  length  plus  appendices  and  is  titled 

HOLSTROM:   "August  Vollmcr  History  Project,  Supplement:   Some  Pxmrces  of 
Information  by  Holstrom,  June  1971."  Copies  are  being  made 
for  the  Bancroft  Library,  by  way  of  Miss  Howard  and  Mr.  Carte, 
for  Mrs.  Fry  in  the  Regional  Oral  History  section  of  Bancroft 
and  one  or  two  copies  for  reference  by  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department  which  is  involved  in  this  total  project. 

By  way  of  description,  the  paper  contains  a  forepage  with  a 
"Who's  Who"  description,  probably  written  by  Vollmer  himself, 
which  is  biographical.  The  important  dates  are  that  he  was 
born  in  1876,  was  Chief  of  Police  in  Berkeley  from  1905 
(when  actually  he  was  City  Marshal  until  he  came  Chief  of 
Police  with  the  1909  incorporation),  his  retirement  in  1932, 
his  year  as  Chief  of  Police  at  Los  Angeles  in  1923-2*4,  the 
fact  that  he  retired  from  Berkeley  on  June  30,  1932  and  that 
he  died  on  November  U,  1955  at  age  79-  These  are  milestone 
dates  for  initial  references.  Besides  the  forepage  there  is 
a  preface  about  the  Bancroft  Library  and  the  things  which  led 
to  the  initiation  of  this  project  by  Mr.  Carte.  Then,  there 
follow  six  chapters: 

I  -  An  introduction  describing  the  Project. 

II  -  Sources  of  Information  —  which  con 
tains  a  list  of  some  23  or  25  living 
retirees  of  the  Berkeley  Police  De 
partment  who  served  with  Vollmer. 

Ill  -  A  list  of  some  26  or  27  living  ex- 
members  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Depart 
ment  who  served  with  Vollmer. 

IV  -  A  list  of  some  living  friends  and 
associates  of  Vollmer 's. 

These  three  chapters  could  be  used  as  a  base  for  deciding  who 
might  be  most  useful  for  oral  interview.   It  should  be  empha 
sized  that  for  every  day,  week  or  month  that  goes  by  each  of 
these  people  is  getting  older  and  their  memories  are  becoming 
more  diir.  with  the  passage  of  time:  and,  as  with  all  of  ur. , 
none  of  them  will  live  forever. 

Section  V  -  Refers  to  other  sources  of  information; 
that  is,  a  collection  of  hundreds  of 
photographs  in  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department  with  a  suggestion  of  those 
people  who  mipht  be  most  useful  in 
identifying  the  subjects  of  these 
photographs . 

HOLSTROM:  VI  -  A  selected  list  of  publications 

and  documents  which  are  immediately 
relevant . 

There  are  three  appendices  in  this  draft.  A  list  of  deceased 
retirees  and  former  employees  which  might  be  useful  as  memory 
aids  and  identifying  photographs.  Another  appendix  contains 
an  exchange  of  memoranda  initiated  by  Gene  Carte  and  a  pre 
liminary  budget  for  this  phase  of  this  project  and  then  there 
is  a  third  appendix  for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  copy 
containing  internal  communications  and  memorandum. 

This  is  recounted  so  that  there  may  be  a  minimum  of  reference 
to  some  of  the  things  contained  herein  in  the  narrative  which 
follows  on  the  tape. 

It  should  be  said  also  that  there  are  at  least  two  or  three 
publications  listed  to  which  there  might  be  reference.  One 
of  them  is  Parker's  "Crime  Fighter:  August  Vollmer,"  a  book. 
One  is  Jack  Kenney's  "The  California  Police"  and  one  is  "The 
Proceedings  of  the  1922  Conference  of  IACP  in  San  Francisco," 
the  year  that  Vollmer  was  President  of  the  Association.  Other 
publications  are  listed  in  Chapter  VI. 

For  this  interview  Mr.  Carte  and  Miss  Howard  prepared  a  pre 
liminary  outline  of  general  questions  for  an  interview  such 
as  this.  There  are  eight  general  questions  and  I  shall  refer 
to  them  by  Roman  Numerals  as  they  are  set  forth  in  the  outline, 

I:   I»ty  personal  relationship  to  Vollmer.   In  the  summer  of  1930  as 
an  Under-Graduate  I  took  a  summer  session  course  from  Vollmer 
simply  because  I  knew  nothing  about  policemen  and  thought  that 
it  might  be  interesting.   It  turned  out  to  be  so  and  as  a 
student  I  was  tremendously  impressed  with  the  personality  of 
the  instructor  and  highly  interested  in  his  presentation  of  a 
subject  about  which  I  knew  nothing.   In  addition  to  his  own 
presentation,  even  as  long  ago  as  1930,  he,  as  professors 
today,  used  a  visiting  lecturer.   I  clearly  recall  that  one 
of  the  highlights  of  that  six-week  summer  session  was  the 
visiting  lecturer  who  was  a  recently  released  inmate  of 
San  Quentin  whose  subject  was  ''safe  burglaries."  We  were 
fascinated  by  a  live  safe  burglar,  who  was  an  able  speaker 
and  much  more  interested  in  the  professor's  remark  that 
later  in  the  afternoon  he  was  going  to  arrange  for  this  man 
to  open  a  safe,  about  which  we  probably  would  read  in  the 
daily  paper.  This  turned  out  to  be  so;  he  went  down  in  the 
afternoon  and  was  able  to  easily  manipulate  the  City  Clerk's 
impregnable  safe  and  open  it . 

HOLSTROM:   Needless  to  say,  as  young  people  we  were  impressed.  After 
graduation  in  1930,  and  based  entirely  I  think  on  the  per 
sonality  of  Vollmer,  I  finally,  and  very  much  contrary  to 
the  advice  of  my  family  and  all  of  the  family  friends  they 
could  marshal,  I  decided  to  become  a  policeman  and  did  so 
in  1931.  The  only  opposition  I  did  not  have  was  from  my 
girl,  who  I  later  married;  and  who  has  stayed  with  me  through 
this  career  now  for  some  ^0  years.   I  said  to  her  and  anybody 
who  was  interested  that  I  intended  to  go  and  stay  for  a  year 
and  see  what  happened.   I  stayed  for  29  and  happened  to  be 
at  the  right  place  at  the  right  time  so  it  was  a  modestly 
successful  career  and  it  was  interesting. 

After  this  first  relationship  with  Vollmer,  he  was  the  Police 
Chief  from  the  time  I  entered  the  Department  until  his  retire 
ment  in  1932.  From  the  relatively  lowly  viewpoint  of  the 
policeman  I  had  some  considerable  exposure  to  the  Chief  of 
Police,  mostly  in  the  weekly  meetings  he  traditionally  held 
for  the  whole  department  on  Friday  afternoons.  Thereafter, 
while  he  was  Professor  of  Police  Administration  at  the  Uni 
versity  of  California,  from  1932  until  his  retirement  in 
1938,  I  really  saw  very  little  of  him.  Sometime  about  1938, 
after  I  had  become  a  Lieutenant,  I  reestablished  a  relation 
ship  with  him,  which  grew  progressively  closer  in  the  years 
which  followed;  particularly  beginning  with  19M  when  I 
became  the  Chief  of  Police  in  Berkeley.   It  really  became  an 
intimate  relationship,  both  professionally  and  socially  with 
our  wives  in  the  ensuing  years  and  after  Mrs.  Vollmer 's  death. 
Until  the  week  of  Vollmer 's  death  I  saw  him  frequently. 

As  to  the  impact  he  had  on  my  life,  I  suppose  that  I  would 
summarize  it  by  saying  that  the  1930  summer  session  completely 
changed  the  course  of  the  career  I  thought  I  was  going  to  have 
with  a  shipping  firm  in  San  Francisco.  So,  the  impact  was 
almost  immediate  and  there  followed;  my  whole  career. 

As  a  young  policeman  I  learned  from  him  a  great  deal  about  his 
standards,  his  honesty,  his  integrity,  his  ideals  of  service. 
Professionally,  I  benefited  from  knowledge  gained  from  him  and 
his  associates.  Certainly  it  is  true  that  not  everything  that 
is  attributed  to  Vollmer  was  done  by  Vollmer  alone.  Much  was 
done  in  no  small  measure  by  the  people  around  him  and  the  people 
with  whom  he  associated.  This  was  the  case  for  a  number  of 
other  people,  particularly  former  members  of  the  Police  Department 
and  retired  members  of  the  Police  Department.   If  oral  interviews 
are  accomplished  you  will  find  that  these  men  will  tell  you  that 
Vollmer,  by  his  strength  of  character,  his  strength  of  personality 
had  a  very  substantial  impact  on  the  lives  of  many  people;  because 
he  was  a  true  leader.  One  of  his  greatest  attributes  was  his 

HOLSTROM:   ability  to  encourage  other  people  to  do  things  that  they  were 
not  really  aware  that  they  had  the  capacity  to  accomplish. 

II:   Asks,  "What  kind  of  man  vas  Vollmer?"  To  me  he  was  a  truly  im 
pressive  personality.  He  had  a  commanding  presence.   He  was  an 
athlete.  Walter  Gordon  will  tell  you  that  the  Friday  meetings 
were  often  preceeded  in  the  police  squad  room  in  a  short  boxing 
match  with  gloves  with  the  Chief  before  the  meeting  started. 
Others  will  tell  you  that  before  my  time  he  frequently  at  noon 
time  walked  from  the  City  Hall  to  the  Berkeley  waterfront,  which 
then  had  purer  water  than  it  has  today.  Mostly  because  Berkeley 
had  outhouses  instead  of  a  sewer  system.  So  he  swam  a  good  deal, 
he  was  interested  in  the  out  of  doors.   In  his  later  years,  he 
was  one  of  the  leaders  in  the  development  of  the  Regional  Park, 
where  maps  will  show  that  one  of  the  tops  of  the  hills  is  named 
Vollmer  Peak  because  of  his  interest  in  regional  parks. 

He  generally  impressed  others  favorably,  because  of  the  type  of 
personality  he  was.  I  would  describe  him  as  a  compassionate 
man  and  I  have  very  clear  recollections  of  one  of  the  stories 
he  told  indicating  his  compassion  for  other  people.  He  had  a 
young  woman  acquaintance  who  had  a  small  child,  probably  pre 
school  age,  who  for  some  reason  I  don't  now  remember  didn't 
happen  to  have  a  husband.  At  one  period  she  needed  to  go  to 
work  in  the  mornings  to  support  herself.  She  asked  the  Chief 
for  help  and  his  reaction  was  to  agree  to  do  what  he  did  and 
that  was  for  a  three-month  period  he  entertained  the  little 
boy  in  his  office,  letting  him  sit  on  the  floor  at  times  when 
there  were  international  visitors  and  play  with  the  key  collec 
tion  in  his  lower  desk  drawer  for  recreation.  He  sometimes 
took  him  out  and  dropped  him  orer  the  fence  at  the  playground 
which  was  then  in  the  backyard  of  the  City  Hall,  retrieving  him 
only  occasionally  for  bathroom  purposes;  eventually  turning 
him  over  to  his  mother  at  noontime.  This  is  a  commentary  on 
the  demands  or  lack  of  them  on  an  active  chief  of  police  and 
the  willingness  of  a  man  to  be  helpful. 

He  didn't,  however,  impress  everyone  favorably.   It  has  been 
said  that  perhaps  he  was  fifty  years  ahead  of  his  time  and  of 
the  many  innovations  in  the  police  service,  many  were  strenuously 
resisted  by  police  officials  in  the  neighboring  communities  in 
California  and  of  the  nation  because  police  administrators  then, 
as  now,  tend  to  be  status  quo  people.  This  is  understandable 
because  their  Jobs  are  sufficiently  contentious  without  having 
anybody  unnecessarily  rock  the  boat  for  any  purpose  whatever  and 
we  see  this  today.   I'll  come  later  to  the  things  that  he  did 
have  to  do  with  in  developments,  but  it  was  not  always  easy. 

HOLSTROM:   He  impressed  the  people  of  Berkeley  when  he  was  a  mail  carrier. 
An  oft  recounted  story  that  appears  in  Parker's  book  which  was 
referred  to  in  the  first  section  of  this  tape:  when  he  was  a 
mail  carrier  he  was  sponsored  for  the  election  of  City  Marshal 
by  Friend  Richardson,  then  editor  or  publisher  of  the  Berkeley 
Gazette,  later  governor  of  California.   Interestingly,  in  a 
matter  of  a  few  years,  he  and  Richardson  had  a  falling-out  and 
Vollner  practiced  then  what  he  taught  us  later,  which  was  never 
to  fight  a  newspaper.  He's  told  me  the  story  of  maintaining  a 
painful  silence  for  a  period  of  many  months  in  the  face  of  cri 
tical  newspaper  stories  in  the  Gazette  until  one  day  Richardson 
on  the  street  said,  "Vollmer,  you're  a  bear  for  punishment.   I 
admire  your  silence,  your  forebearance ;  I  think  I  was  wrong 
and  you  were  right  and  you'll  have  no  further  trouble  with  the 
Gazette."  He  didn't. 

I  think  that  the  personal  characteristics  that  made  him  influ 
ential  were  his  commanding  personality,  his  pleasant  manner, 
and  his  absolute  integrity.  Although  I  have  never  seen  a 
report  on  the  level  of  his  abstract  intelligence  taken  from 
testing  sources,  I  believe  that  his  abstract  intelligence 
probably  was  very  high  indeed.  That  fact  accounted  for  his 
extremely  fertile  imagination.  Within  recent  years  in  circles 
interested  in  the  administration  of  Justice  there  has  been 
emphasis  on  one  word  that  we  have  heard  repeatedly.  That  is, 
what  is  badly  needed  in  this  country  is  innovative  ideas. 
Vollner,  50  years  ago,  probably  was  more  innovative  than 
almost  all  of  the  police  administrators  in  active  service  in 
this  field  put  together.   I  think  it  was  these  things  that 
made  him  influential  and  I  think  that  he  was  influential 
because  his  colleagues  and  associates  had  confidence  in  his 

Ill:   ''Anecdotes  and  Stories  from  My  Own  Relationship  with  Him.' 

Question  3  asks  for  anecdotes  and  stories  from  my  own  contacts 
about  what  kind  of  man  Vollmer  was.   I've  already  described 
his  personality  in  part  in  a  proceeding  paragraph  or  two  and 
I  suppose  I  think  most  about  his  personal  relationships.  Let 
me  say  incidentally  that  he  really  had  no  family  after  his 
brother  died,  and  then  after  he  lost  his  wife.  There  were  no 
children,  there  was  only  one  niece  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
He,  for  example,  gave  his  house  and  its  contents  to  his  long 
time  housekeeper  in  gratitude  for  her  long  and  faithful  service 
while  he  was  a  widower. 

JRH:   When  did  his  wife  die? 

HOLSTROM:   I'm  not  sure  of  the  year  in  which  his  wife  died  and  you  would 
have  to  ask  another  source.  Dr.  George  Oulton,  one  of  the 
suggested  sources  of  information  in  the  paper  I  have  given  you, 
would  know  from  memory. 

HOLSTROM:   He  made  up,  however,  for  this  lack  of  children  of  his  own  by 

his  obvious  interest  in  children  over  the  years.   I  think,  for 
example,  of  the  nineteen- fifties  when  I  frequently  visited  in 
his  study  at  home  or  when  I  had  occasion  to  take  a  visitor  to 
see  him  and  there  were  so  many  of  them,  incidentally,  that  they 
literally  wore  a  path  to  his  door  from  their  visits  at  the  Hall 
of  Justice.  On  many  of  these  occasions  whatever  was  being  dis 
cussed  was  interrupted  by  a  knock  at  the  door  and  it  would  be 
one  or  a  half  dozen  of  the  neighborhood  children  who  came  to 
see  Uncle  Gus.  There  were  two  attractions:  one  was  that  the 
children  trusted  him,  they  knew  that  he  loved  them  and,  besides, 
he  had  a  Jar  of  candy  for  them  and  so  there  were  lots  of  children 
from  the  neighborhood  whose  mothers  were  glad  indeed  that  their 
offspring  were  visiting  with  Uncle  Gus  instead  of  being  underfoot 
at  home. 

I  think  of  an  occasion  of  a  dinner  party  at  our  house  when  there 
might  have  been  four  or  five  couples;  he  obviously  at  that  point 
was  the  guest  of  honor,  but  he  wasn't  talking  to  his  contempo 
raries  or  the  other  guests  during  the  cocktail  hour  proceeding: 
dinner.  He  was  seated  in  the  middle  of  the  floor  teaching  our 
son  and  one  of  his  friends  some  string  tricks  instead  of  talking 
to  the  adults. 

What  kind  of  a  man  was  he?  I  think  of  today's  interest  in  the 
so-called  minority  groups  and  I  think  uncharitably  of  people 
I  know  who  have  made  an  opportunistic  career  out  of  professing 
deep  interest  in  the  dis advantaged  (as  sociologists  call  them) 
members  of  the  community.  Some  of  these  people  seem  to  me  to 
be  entirely  insincere  or  to  be  charitable,  ineffective,  really, 
in  what  they  are  doing  either  for  personal  or  political  gain. 
I  don't  recall  in  all  of  my  conversations  with  Vollmer  or  in 
anything  that  I  have  read  about  him  ever  hearing  any  reference 
to  ethnic  background.  As  I  thought  about  this,  I  think  of  the 
many  Jewish  people  I  happen  to  know  who  considered  Vollmer  a 
very  close  and  personal  friend.  3y  way  of  illustration  of  his 
Jewish  friends;  Just  to  name  a  few,  I  think  of  three  who  are 
listed  in  the  source  book  I  have  handed  Miss  Howard:  one  is 
Ernest  Block,  the  San  Francisco  author;  one  is  Dr.  Milton  Cher- 
nin,  who  was  Vollmer 's  reader  and  then  his  Administrative 
Assistant  and  who  today  is  the  Dean  of  the  School  of  Social 
Welfare.   I  think  of  a  delightful  mutual  friend  the  late  Albert 
Deutsch,  whose  name  is  also  listed  and  who  wrote  "What's  Wrong 
with  Cops?"  Al  Deutsch  was  perhaps  as  Jewish  as  a  person 
could  be  and  yet  Vollmer  and  he  considered  themselves  the 
closest  of  friends . 


HOLSTROM:   I  think  of  the  professed  interest  today  of  some  people  in 
the  Mexican  or  Spanish-American  segment  of  the  population 
and  I'm  reminded  that  in  the  1920 's  one  of  Berkeley's 
outstanding  policemen  vas  a  man  by  the  name  of  Joe  Chavez . 
Joe  later  had  problems  and  it  vas  necessary  to  separate  him 
from  the  police  department,  but  it  didn't  happen  during 
Vollmer's  tenure. 

In  the  Negro  community,  I  would  simply  mention  Walter  Gordon, 
who  earned  his  way  through  college,  as  will  be  perfectly 
evident  in  the  Gordon  interview,  by  being  a  Berkeley  police 
man,  including  Judge  Gordon's  law  degree.  And  I  think  of  what 
then  took  some  courage  on  the  part  of  Vollmer  in  the  face  of 
community  opposition  to  insist  that  Gordon  should  be  placed 
on  the  patrol  beat  immediately  south  of  the  University  campus , 
an  area  not  then  frequented  by  Negroes.  Vollmer  has  told  me 
that  he  put  him  there  for  only  two  reasons .  One  was  in  Gor 
don  's  interest,  to  help  him  gain  confidence  in  his  own  self- 
development  and  the  second  and  overriding  reason  was  simply 
that  he  was  the  best  policeman  he  had  available  for  the 
assignment.   I'm  quite  sure  in  my  own  mind  that  Vollmer  did 
not  even  subconsciously  relate  his  relationship  with  these 
representatives  of  minority  groups  to  their  ethnic  background s , 
but  that  he  looked  at  a  man  for  what  the  man  himself  represented 
and  that  was  his  total  interest.   In  any  event  I  have  never 
heard  of  any  reference  to  ethnic  background  from  him  nor  did  I 
to  the  day  of  his  death. 

One  of  Vollmer's  great  attributes  was  his  extraordinary 
ability  to  encourage  other  people  to  develop  ideas  and  to 
develop  practices.  He  didn't  care  very  much  who  got  credit 
for  doing  something  so  long  as  it  was  done.  He  had  the 
faith  in  people.  To  send  O.W.  Wilson,  a  young  patrolman, 
to  a  California  city  to  become  a  police  chief  and  that  sort 
of  confidence  in  people  was  evident  time  and  time  again.   I 
remember  asking  him  on  an  occasion  when  I  saw  a  very  flowery 
letter  of  reference  that  was  given  to  only  a  mediocre  Berkeley 
policeman  recommending  him  for  a  position.   I  asked  the  Chief 
how  he  could  possibly  in  good  conscience  give  this  man  the 
kind  of  recommendation  he  did.  His  response  was,  you  never 
can  tell  what  a  man  is  able  to  do,  but  even  though  I  recom 
mend  ten,  and  nine  of  them  nay  disappoint  me  and  fail,  the 
tenth  one  may  surprise  me.  He  said,  'that  percentage  is 
good  enough  for  me,  because  it  is  in  developing  people 
that  we  make  real  progress  in  our  own  society." 

IfOLSTFOM:   Another  anecdote  about  Vollmer  in  my  personal  experience  as 
a  very  young  patrolman  was  to  be  called  into  the  Chief's 
office  because  he  wished  to  inquire  about  something  that  had 
happened.  I'm  reminded  in  recent  years  there's  been  a  very 
popular  television  series  produced  by  Jack  Webb  entitled, 
"Dragnet"  which  is  filmed  around  the  Los  Angeles  Police 
Department  and  one  of  the  frequent  phrases  that  Jack  Webb 
has  put  in  the  mouth  of  Sgt.  Friday  is,  "All  I  want  are  the 
facts,  ma'am,"  I  know  that  this  was  hardly  original  with 
Jack  Webb  because  I  so  clearly  remember  the  young  police 
man  either  standing  before  the  Chief's  desk  or  sitting  in 
a  chair  and  having  him  say  very  pleasantly  "John,  I'm 
interested  in  such  and  such,  Just  tell  me  the  facts"  and 
then  lean  back  in  a  relaxed  manner,  but  looking  directly 
at  the  young  policeman  with  his  very  clear  eyes  and 
patiently  awaiting  the  answer  and  even  showing  no  sign 
of  impatience  when  the  young  man  finally  ran  out  of  con 
versation  and  realized  that  he  was  repeating  himself  and 
stopped.  Then  the  Chief's  rejoinder  would  be  "Thank  you.' 
All  he  wanted  were  the  facts,  and  the  young  man  learned 
early  that  if  he  wanted  opinions  he  would  ask  for  them  and 
the  young  man  learned  a  very  valuable  lesson.  Facts  are 
most  useful  in  our  everyday  relationships  as  well  as  in 
professional  relationships. 

Hardly  in  the  area  of  anecdotes  but  perhaps  related  more 
to  minority  groups,  I'm  reminded  that  today  I  have  a  number 
of  personal  friends  in  the  Chinese  community  in  San  Francisco, 
and  some  in  Taiwan.  All  of  these  stem  from  early  visitors 
from  the  Mainland  of  China  who  came  here  as  sub-officials  in 
the  police  system  of  China.  Often  as  the  top  graduates  of 
the  National  Police  College,  which  was  located  at  Nanking 
and  before  World  War  II  in  Chunking  and  then  later  in  Taiwan. 
The  earliest of  these  was  Yukon  Feng,  who  became  a  prominent 
Chinese  police  official  and  whose  name  is  listed  in  the  source 
supplement  to  this  tape.  There  were  a  number  of  others,  one 
of  whom  succeeded  in  earning  a  PhD.  here  in  Political  Science, 
others  who  earned  their  Master's  degrees,  some  of  whom  returned 
to  the  police  or  governmental  field  in  China,  some  of  whom 
did  not.  So,  there  has  been  as  much  identification  with  the 
Chinese  police  in  this  relatively  small  police  department  and 
in  this  great  University,  perhaps  more  than  any  other  single 
place  in  the  world.  A  few  of  them  did  go  to  England,  some  to 
Germany  before  World  War  II. 

Ancedotes:  When  I  think  of  the  impression  made  on  other 
people  I  think  of  a  dinner  party  at  the  home  of  Dr.  Douglas 
Kelley,  the  psychiatrist  who  was  a  member  of  the  School  of 
Criminology  faculty  and  was  also  the  police  department  psy 
chiatrist  in  Berkeley,  where  the  guests  were  a  mixture  of 


HOLF7RO":   people  from  the  academic  field  and  the  police  field,  an 
interesting  combination  in  itself.  My  wife  reminds  me 
that  at  one  stage  of  the  evening  the  men  all  found  them 
selves  talking  to  each  other,  the  women  were  all  clustered 
about  Vollmer,  who  was  seated  on  a  coffee  table  playing 
a  guitar  softly  and  talking  to  them.  »My  point  is,  that 
he  was  attractive  not  only  to  children,  his  male  friends 
and  associates,  but  to  their  wives  as  well. 

Anecdote  about  this  man's  constructive  look  to  the  future. 
One  day  when  he  was  about  age  75  and  we  happened  to  be 
visiting  in  his  study,  the  question  arose  "Vhat  was  he 
doing  beside  writing  and  carrying  on  a  voluminous  personal 
correspondence?"  His  answer  was  that  he  hardly  had  time 
to  do  all  of  the  things  that  he  wanted  to  do,  that  in  his 
spare  time  he  was  taking  guitar  lessons  again  and  although 
fluent  in  Spanish  he  was  taking  Spanish  lessons  to  brush 
up  on  his  Spanish  Just  in  case  he  needed  it  and  because  he 
happened  to  be  interested  in  it . 

Perhaps  not  an  anecdote  but  this  is  recounted  by  Parker 
and  others  and  I  know  it  of  my  own  knowledge.  Here  was 
a  man  with  about  a  sixth  grade  education  formally,  who 
was  truly  a  self-educated  man,  a  man  who  despite  his 
educational  handicap  was  a  full  professor  before  1932 
at  the  University  of  Chicago  and  who  left  that  attractive 
post  to  accept  a  full  professorship  at  the  University  of 
California,  a  position  which  was  terminated  only  for 
health  reasons  in  1938. 


HOLSTROM:   [Well,  Jane,  this  is  the  afternoon  of  Wednesday,  June  30, 
1971  and  we're  going  to  continue  a  recording  as  we  did 
yesterday.  On  Gene  Carte's  suggestion  it  will  be  an 
attempt  to  make  this  more  of  a  conversation  than  what  he 
chose  to  call  something  that  sounded  like  pure,  cold 
dictation,  so  we'll  see  if  we  can  keep  him  happy  this 
afternoon.  We've  had  a  little  preliminary  session, 
where  do  you  wish  to  start?  Do  you  want  to  take  this 
back  to  Roman  numeral  III  and  talk  about  anecdotes?] 

JRH:   "Sure,  we  may  as  well  Just  outline  some  of  the  things 
we  want  to  mention  under  each  of  the  items.  So  why 
don't  you  Just  go  ahead  with  III  and  mention  the 
anecdotes  that  you're  thinking  of,  and  then  I  told 
you  the  notes  that  Gene  would  be  especially  interested 
in,  and  Just  keep  on  going." 

KOLSTROM:   I'm  not  sure  that  this  is  a  straight  anecdote,  but 
about  one  of  my  great  professional  friends,  who  was 
a  Chief  of  Police  in  San  Francisco,  by  the  name  of 
Charles  W.  Dullea.  I  repeat  we  became  very  close 
friends  and  remained  so  up  to  the  time  of  his  death 
which  was  perhaps  three  or  four  years  ago  and  Just 
after  I  became  a  police  chief.   I  suppose  it  came 
from  some  insight  of  Vollmer's,  some  of  his  influence, 
I  could  tell  you  about  as  follows .   It  happened  that 
I  was  assigned  to  detached  duty  in  1939  to  San  Fran 
cisco  for  a  year,  as  a  Lieutenant.   I  took  with  me 
three  inspectors,  i.e.  detectives.  The  stated  purpose 
was  to  assist  their  pickpocket  detail  at  the  San 
Francisco  Fair  in  1939  and  the  reason  for  it  was  that 
at  the  1915  Exposition  they  had  a  lot  of  trouble  with 
pickpockets.  The  San  Francisco  Police  Chief,  whose 
name  was  Bill  Quinn,  asked  the  East  Bay  Police  depart 
ments  to  furnish  a  limited  number  of  detectives 
motivated  by  the  fact  that  in  the  1923  Berkeley  fire 
a  group  of  Uo  San  Francisco  policemen  at  Vollmer's 
request  came  over  here  and  helped  the  police  in 
Berkeley.  This  was  the  1939  Chief's  effort;  J.A. 
Greening's  to  repay  San  Francisco  and  so  he  responded. 

JRH:   When  did  you  become  Chief  of  Police? 

HOLSTROM:   In  19^ ,  this  was  1939  and  I  was  a  Lieutenant  then, 
having  been  one  since  1937.  So  we  went  to  San 
Francisco  and  Charles  Dullea  then  was  a  very  in 
fluential,  powerful  Captain  of  Ispectors;  he  headed 
the  Bureau  of  about  200  detectives  or  inspectors  in 
the  San  Francisco  Police  Department,  which  was  the 
elite  unit  of  that  department.  He  and  his  Chief  Quinn 







were  not  on  speaking  terms  and,  because  Chief  Quinn 
had  asked  for  us,  we  were  unwelcome  in  the  Inspector's 
Bureau.  But  there  was  a  second  reason  and  this  has 
to  do  with  Vollmer.   I  heard  the  story  after  we'd 
got  the  cold  shoulder  for  the  first  painful  six  weeks 
in  San  Francisco. 

There  were  three  of  you? 

Four;  me  and  three  Inspectors.   It  was  explained  that 
what  had  happened  was  there  had  been  a  meeting  in 
Sacramento  which  had  to  do  with  police  selection. 
This  was  after  Vollmer 's  retirement.  Vollner  had 
asked  to  come  to  this  conference  and  I  have  no  idea 
now  whether  it  was  legislative  committee  or  what 
it  was,  but  it  was  a  meeting.  There  was  a  contingent 
led  by  Captain  Dullea  and  of  course,  Vollmer  was  there. 
In  the  course  of  the  afternoon  they  got  into  debate 
about  qualifications  for  policemen.  Vollmer  had  made 
a  proposal  about  upgrading  the  standards  for  entrance 
and  Captain  Dullea  got  up  and  said  that  was  a  fine 
theory ,  underscoring  the  word  theory.  Reflecting 
one  of  his  predecessor's  points  of  view,  that  pre 
decessor  being  a  Captain  Matheson.  Duncan  Matheson 
had  said  some  years  before  that  Vollmer  might  be  a 
very  interesting  and  effective  man  in  Berkeley,  but 
he  was  so  full  of  theories  that  he  wouldn't  know  how 
to  get  a  practical  police  job  done,  thus  reflecting 
the  kind  of  thing  you're  interested  in  about  who  didn't 
really  admire  Vollmer  all  the  time. 

Yes,  obviously  he  did  get  his  Job  done, 

In  Berkeley, 

Well,  Captain  Matheson  didn't  happen  to  think  that  some 
of  Vollmer 's  ideas  were  really  suitable  for  San 
Francisco,  which  he  considered  to  be  a  much  more  sophis 
ticated  community  than  anything  in  northern  California. 

Why  weren't  they  suitable? 

Captain  Matheson  didn't  think  so.  Yesterday  I  used 
the  word  status  quo.   I  didn't  know  Captain  Matheson 
but  I  assume  he  was  afflicted  to  some  extent  with 
this  status  quo  position,  and  which  I  said  yesterday 
is  understandable  to  me.  Having  said  at  the  Sacra 
mento  meeting  that  these  things  wouldn't  work,  Vollmer 
slipped  one  of  the  few  times  I'm  aware  of,  the  only 
time  I'm  aware  of  publicly  and  he  made  the  unfortunate 
statement  that  he  wasn't  much  interested  in  what  was 


HOLSTRO!':   acceptable  in  San  Francisco  because  he  said,  "San  Francisco 
Policemen  are  a  bunch  of  morons,  anyway."  He  shouldn't 
have  said  it,  he  deeply  offended  Captain  Dullea  and  by  1939 
Captain  Dullea  hadn't  gotten  over  it. 

JPH:   This  was  how  many  years  earlier?  Two  or... 
HOLSTROM:   Just  a  couple  of  years,  or  more. 

JPH:   That's  a  long  time  to  hold  a  (trudge. 

HOLSTROM:   No,  it  isn't.  That  isn't  a  long  time  to  hold  a  grudge  if 
you're  interested  in  that  facet.  This  man  who  I  consider 
to  be  a  great  Irishman  and  who  was,  I  repeat,  a  great 
personal  friend  in  later  years.  Dullea,  among  his  other 
characteristics  he  had  a  personal  system  for  taking  care 
of  people  he  didn't  like  and  didn't  admire  and  his  system 
was  very  simple  —  they  simply  didn't  exist.  He  didn't 
see  them,  he  didn't  hear  them  and  he  refused  to  discuss 
them.  When  I  got  to  know  him  real  well  In  later  years 
and  happened  to  mention  a  name  that  was  objectionable 
to  him  the  most  that  he  would  ever  do  was  say  "Yes,  I've 
met  him, "that  was  Dullea. 

In  addition  to  or  following  the  San  Francisco  thing,  not 
only  was  Dullea  very  unhappy  with  Vollner,  but  that  meant 
he  was  unhappy  with  Berkeley,  the  Berkeley  police  force 
and  unhappy  with  Berkeley.   I've  been  told  by  one  of  his 
drivers  that  as  a  Captain  and  later  the  Chief  of  Police 
of  Can  Francisco,  if  he  could,  he  would  attempt  to  detour 
Berkeley  because  Berkeley  was  one  of  those  things  he 
wanted  to  ignore.  This  was  a  characteristic  of  that 
very  strong  man. 

Bring  it  back  to  Vollmer  again.   I  don't  recall  that 
Captain  Dullea  himself  ever  did  acknowledge  that  four 
of  us  spent  a  year  in  San  Francisco,  but  we  became 
acceptable  to  his  elite  squad  of  elites,  which  was  the 
Robbery  Detail  where  we  gained  very  close  friends.  I 
don't  recall  that  I  ever  spoke  to  Captain  Dullea  the 
entire  year  of  1939.  To  begin  to  relate  this  to  Volljner, 
I  became  a  Police  Chief  in  19^  and  went  to  my  first 
State  Police  Officer  conference,  attended  mostly  by 
Police  Chiefs  in  Fresno.   I  was  thirty- five  years  old 

KOLSTROM:   which  was  strike  one,  very  young.   I  presume,  that  I 
probably  was  the  lonesomest  fellow  in  Fresno ,  because 
this  was  simply  the  way  it  was.  This  what  we  used  to 
call  a  closed  corporation  and  these  men  were  interested 
in  each  other.  They  knew  each  other  and  nobody  extended 
himself  to  say  hello  to  me.  So  I  attended  the  meeting 
for  about  three  days  feeling  very  much  like  a  forgotten 
orphan.   I  came  home  and  happened  to  be  talking  to  Chief 
Vollmer  in  his  home  one  day  and  he  wanted  to  know  how 
the  first  meeting  went  in  Fresno  and  the  year  possibly 
was  191*1*  or  'U5.  So  I  told  him  about  this  experience 
and  he  said,  well,  that's  regrettable.  I'm  sure  that 
it  wasn't  deliberate,  you  must  realize  that  these  nen 
are  friends  and  have  associated  for  years  and  nobody 
was  thoughtful  enough  to  take  you  under  his  wing. 

I  was  told  years  later  by  Dullea  what  happened.  Mind 
you  now,  they  hadn't  spoken  since  1937,  mind  you  of 
the  allegation  of  detouring  Berkeley  by  this  Irishman. 
Chief  Vollmer  called  hiir.  on  the  telephone  and  said, 
"Charlie,  there's  something  you  could  do  and  I  think 
this  has  gone  on  long  enough.  We  have  a  fine  young 
man  who  is  the  Chief  of  Police  in  Berkeley  and  the 
outlook  is  he's  going  to  be  there  for  a  long  time. 
This  is  ridiculous  and  I  think  the  first  thing  that 
we'd  better  do  is  admit  that  it  is  and  I  have  a  direct 
request  to  rake  of  you  because  I  kno^.•  that  your  interest 
in  the  police  service  will  transcend  any  personal  feel 
ings  that  you  may  have.   It  is  a  constructive  interest 
and  I  believe  it  to  be.  Charles,  I  would  appreciate  it 
if  you  would  call  Holstrom  and  invite  him  over  to  your 
office  and  make  up  your  own  mind  about  him  and  if  you 
are  at  all  favorably  impressed  there  are  ever  so  many 
things  you  can  do  for  him,  for  the  Berkeley  Pepartment , 
maybe  perhaps  for  your  own  Department  in  the  process 
and  you  can  do  it  and  nobody  else  can.  And  so  it 
happened . 

The  result  of  that  was  and  we're  talking  about  what  did 
he  r.ean  to  my  own  career  —  Charlie  Dullea,  next  to 
Vollner  and  Greening,  and  perhaps  next  to  Vollmer  had 
more  of  an  effect  upon  my  career  than  anyone  else.  He, 
Dullea,  had  been  a  President  of  the  California  Peace 
Officer's  Association.  Once  the  Irishman  decided  to 
forgive,  by  1950,  I  was  President  of  the  C.P.O.A.  under 
Dullea 's  sponsorship,  by  1957  at  Honolulu  I  was  elected 
President  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of 
Police  and  Dullea  before  ne  had  been  President  of  both 
of  then.  When  I  went  to  my  second  IACP  conference  in 


HOLSTROM:   Duluth,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Dullea  saw  to  it  that  I  was  never 
alone,  either  at  the  time  of  the  meetings  or  socially 
in  the  evenings.  Mrs.  Dullea  because  of  her  age  became 
something  like  a  second  mother  to  my  wife.  This  all 
happened  because  Vollmer  thought  it  should  and  Dullea 
was  willing  to  do  it.   I  became  a  member  of  the  Board 
of  Governors  of  the  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification 
and  Investigation.   I  inherited  Dullea1 s  position  after 
his  retirement.  This  was  traceable  to  Dullea  and  Vollmer. 

JRH:   Of  course,  you  got  to  know  him  too. 

HOLSTROM:   Well,  I  got  to  know  him  very  well,  but  it  was  the 

breaking  of  the  ice  that  did  it;  something  I  probably 
never  could  have  accomplished.   I'm  sure  my  Chief 
Greening  could  not  have  accomplished  it  and  I  don't 
know  anybody  else  who  could. 

JKH:   Did  he  try  to  get  Dullea  earlier,  like  in  '39?  What 

happened?  Did  Vollmer  try  to  intervene  for  you  in  1939? 

HGLSTBOK:   i,"o!  Only  after  I  became  a  Police  Chief.  Well  so  much 
for  that  anecdote.  Another  one  about  Vollmer  when  you 
talk  about  did  he  try  to  do  anything?  One  of  the 
positions  that  he  took  after  his  retirement  was  that 
retired  police  chiefs  should  never,  except  under  extreme 
circumstances,  go  back  and  appear  at  their  own  police 
departments.  This  distressed  me,  after  19^.   I  once 
asked  him  why  and  he  said,  "For  the  very  simple  reason 
that  I  don't  believe  that  people  who  have  no  responsibility 
should  take  it  upon  themselves  to  kibbitz  on  the  other 
fellow's  operation.   I'd  never  come  into  the  Hall  of 
Justice  unless  it's  at  your  insistent  invitation." 

JRH:   But,  you  mentioned  that  at  some  point,  I'm  not  sure  if 

it  was  when  you  were  Chief  or  not,  that  he  did  sometimes 
talk  to  potential  police  candidates  after  he  left  the 
force  or  before  they  would  be  put  on  the  force. 

HOLSTROM:   He  talked  to  lots  of  people  and  I  think  I  would  like  to 
leave  the  response  to  that  to  a  later  section  of  this 
report  about  influences  he  had.  This  will  have  to  do 
with  the  people  he  saw  after  retirement.  Is  that  all 

JRH:   Yes,  because  apparently  he  did  have  an  influence  even 
after  he  left . 

HOLSTROM:   Tremendous  influence! 

JPH:   You  said  he  wouldn't  supersede  somebody's  authority, 
but  he  still  would  influence. 

HOLSTROM:   I  said  he  wouldn't  visit  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 
His  favorite  phrase  was  "John,  if  there's  anything  you 
want,  Just  ring  the  bell."  I  heard  this  up  until  the 
week  of  his  death.  So  much  for  that.  I  guess,  Jane, 
we're  still  on  the  subject  of  anecdotes  and  there  was 
something  I  wanted  to  be  sure  to  say  to  you,  I  have  in 
my  hand,  and  it's  in  the  list  of  publications  of  the 
supplement  that  I  prepared  for  you,  a  reference  to  a  book, 
which  is  "The  Crime  Fighter:  August  Vollmer,"  by  Alfred 
Parker.  I  must  say,  if  I  didn't  say  yesterday,  that 
this  book  was  disappointing  to  some  people,  probably 
including  me.  However,  it  is  a  collection  of  anecdotes. 
I  have  heard  if  not  all,  most  of  them  from  Vollmer 
himself,  so  there's  little  point  in  repeating  what  Al 
Parker  said  in  the  book. 

There  are  the  anecdotes  there  about  Vollner,  in  answer 
to  one  of  your  off  the  tape  preliminary  questions  about 
Vollraer's  early  days  —  his  youth,  his  background,  his 
military  service  in  the  Spanish-American  War,  his  being 
a  mail  carrier  in  Berkeley,  how  he  became  elected  City 
Marshal,  the  clean-up  platform  that  he  stood  on  then. 
As  he  used  to  say,  to  chase  out  of  town  the  gamblers, 
most  of  whom  were  Chinese;  the  prostitutes,  many  of  whom 
vacationed  here,  some  of  whom  worked  here;  and  to  do 
something  about  the  1905  controversy  about  what  we  today 
politely  call  alcoholic  beverages.  This  is  all  related 
in  Parker's  book,  I've  heard  these  stories  before,  I 
could  read  the  book  to  you,  but  why  should  I;  it  would 
take  up  too  much  time  on  the  tape. 

I  have  no  ideas,  as  I  said  yesterday,  what  will  be  con 
tained  in  Parker's  forthcoming  book,  The  History  of  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  or  The  Berkeley  Police  Story, 
as  I  think  it's  going  to  be  called.  I  assume  there  will 
be  more  of  this  kind  of  thing,  and  so  I'd  Just  as  soon 
drop  the  anecdotes  at  this  point.  I  really  don't  have 
any  others  that  occur  to  me  at  the  moment. 

JRH:   You  don't  know,  you're  saying,  about  the  early  period 
of  his  life.  You  don't  know  anything,  anymore  stories 
essentially,  but  what's  contained  in  there. 

HOLSTROM:   Essentially,  I  do  not.  Nov,  I  have  two  or  three 

documents  here,  that  are  referred  to  in  the  supplement 
also.  The  most  reliable  one  probably  is  titled  "The 
History  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department,"  the  revision 


HOLSTROM:   of  which  was  developed  by  then  Lieutenant  Ton  Johnson 
in  1956.  There  are  in  it  some  brief  statements  tinder 
the  caption  of  "Law  Enforcement  in  the  Pre-Vollmer  Era," 
and  then  there  is  another  major  caption  "Law  Enforcement 
in  the  Vollner  Era"  and  what  he  did  then.  These  supple 
ments  tend  to  validate  what  Parker  has  said.  As  a 
matter  of  fact  Parker's  material  probably  came  from 
two  sources;  one  was  Vollmer  himself  to  Parker,  and  the 
other  was  Berkeley  police  training  outlines,  which  I 
am  sure  that  he  must  have  used  for  the  book  that  is 

JRH:   You  mean  the  course  outlines  for  training? 

HOLSTROM:   One  of  their  courses  is  on  the  history  of  the  Berkeley 

Police  Department.  They  were  used  in  their  basic  training 
school  and  still  are. 

JRH:   We'd  only  be  interested  in  that  early  period  if  you  knew 
something  more  than  Parker  has  given  us ,  from  your  own 
experience  and  things  that  Vollmer  had  told  you.  Things 
actually  that  —  for  instance,  you  talked  with  Spenger. 
You  said  he  might  give  us  an  idea  of  what  Berkeley  was 
like  at  the  time  that  Vollmer  was  elected  Marshal,  or 
something . 

HOLSTROM:   I'm  sure  as  I  mentioned  to  you  yesterday  that  Frank  Spenger 
ST.,  who  is  at  least  in  his  80's  has  a  clear  memory.  Of 
course,  he  can  tell  us  a  great  deal  about  that  period.  We 
mentioned  this  yesterday  when  we  were  reviewing  the  chapter 
in  the  supplement  that  I  keep  referring  to  about  friends 
and  associates  of  Vollmer  who  are  still  alive. 

JRH:  You  didn't  come  to  Berkeley  until  —  Well,  you  were  born  in 
1909  and  didn't  come  until  after  that,  after  high  school  or 

HOLSTROM:   No,  I  went  to  school  here  from  1926,  here  at  the  University 
to  1930. 

JRH:   That's  what  I  meant,  you  weren't  a  child  in  this  area,  so  you 
wouldn't. . . . 

HOLSTROM:   Well,  I  was  brought  up  in  the  South,  in  Tennessee,  and  the 

last  two  years  of  high  school  my  family  returned  to  California, 
lived  in  Oakland  down  by  the  lake  and  I  finished  high  school 
in  Oakland.  Then  I  came  to  Berkeley  and  during  the  years  I 
was  in  college  I  took  a  summer  course  froir.  Vollmer.   I  didn't 
know  anything  about  policemen  and  I'd  never  seen  one  around 


HOLSTROM:   my  house  and  I  probably  was  never  west  of  Ellsworth  Street 
the  four  years  that  I  was  in  college.  The  only  policeman 
I  knew  was  Officer  Browning  who  put  traffic  tags  on  my 
Model-T  Ford  for  parking  it  down  at  Sather  Gate.  I  had  a 
running  contest  with  Mr.  Browning  for  four  years  trying 
to  talk  him  out  of  traffic  tags.  This  was  all  I  knew 
about  policemen;  I  had  no  interest  in  them.  They  didn't 
bother  me  and  I  wasn't  aware  of  them.  They  didn't  mean 
a  thing  in  the  world  in  my  young  life. 

JRH:   You  mentioned  that  your  family  was  opposed  to  you  becoming 
a  policeman. 

HOLSTROM:   I  Just  found  that  out  last  Sunday  when  my  91  year  old 
mother  was  over  for  dinner  and  I  told  her  what  I  was 
doing  and  she  said  your  father  and  I  were  opposed.  I 
said,  you  didn't  ever  tell  me,  and  she  said  that  wasn't 
the  way  we  did  things.  We  had  your  uncle  tell  you,  but 
we  didn't  tell  you.  We  weren't  very  happy  with  you  until 
your  career  turned  out  all  right  in  our  opinion.  I  never 
heard  that  one  before. 

JFH:   Gene  said  that  when  you  were  a  college  student  it  wasn't 
so  common  to  become  a  policeman. 

HOLSTROM:   It  was  not  at  all  common.  However,  Vollmer  and  his  so- 
called  college  cops  began  before  the  era  of  Walter  Gordon, 
for  example,  and  before  the  era  of  General  Dean;  around 
1919-1921  or  so.   I  learned  in  San  Francisco,  as  a  patrolman 
when  I  used  to  go  over  with  one  of  the  inspectors  and  go  to 
the  detective  line-ups,  that  there  were  two  things  you  didn't 
talk  about  over  there  and  I'm  not  reflecting  on  San  Francisco 
today,  I'm  talking  about  the  1930" s.   I  was  a  very  young  man. 
I  was  in  my  twenties.  Two  things  you  didn't  say,  one  was 
you  didn't  emphasize  you  were  from  Berkeley  and  you  certainly 
didn't  emphasize  that  you  went  to  the  University,  even  when 
in  the  City  of  Oakland.  I  learned  this  in  my  '20's  as  a  young 

JRH:   Well,  things  haven't  changed  too  much,  have  they?  Was  it  the 
same  kind  of,  in  a  sense  there's  some  kind  of  rivalry  with 
Berkeley  being  some  kind  of  intellectual  center? 

HOLSTROM:   No,  not  anymore  I  think.  San  Francisco's  Director  Ed  Conber 
was  a  member  of  this  faculty  of  the  School  of  Criminology. 

JRH:   I  wasn't  thinking  so  much  in  terms  of  the  P.D.,  Just  in  general, 



HOLSTROM:   I  vas  speaking  generally,  too.  Oakland  has  had  great  emphasis 
on  education  and  we've  had  any  number  of  Oakland  policemen  as 
students  in  the  f-chool  of  Cririnology.  The  incumbent  Chief 
Charles  Gain  is  interested  in  education  and  as  a  matter  of  fact 
is  a  member  of  the  Advisory  Council  of  the  School  of  Crimino 
logy  today,  as  is  the  police  chief  of  Berkeley.  If  there  is 
resentment  in  some  police  circles  today,  I  think  it  isn't  a 
matter  of  being  concerned  about  the  Berkeley  police  department, 
those  days  are  gone.  What  used  to  disturb  people  was  the 
publicity  Vollmer  got  and  the  reputation  led  to  the  invidious 
comparisons  that  were  made. 

I  don't  pet  in  what  sense  they  were  critical,  that  they  were 
because  they  were  training  college  kids? 

No,  it  was  because  there  was  so  much  publicity  worldwide 
about  Berkeley  and  sometimes  comparisons  were  made  with 
San  Francisco  or  Oakland. 

Unfavorably  I 

Unfavorably  and,  right  or  wrong,  people  don't  appreciate  being 
compared  with  somebody  who  some  people  think  are  better  than 
they  are.   If  there  are  resentments  today  in  police  circles  then 
that's  a  different  story,  that  runs  to  the  whole  University. 
A  lack  of  sympathy  or  even  understanding  about  the  University 
and  what  is  regarded  as  extreme  premissiveness  of  the  Univer 
sity  administration  and  faculty.  The  disorders  that  go  back 
to  196U  on  this  campus.  There  are  some  feelings  statewide 
about  the  University  of  California;  right  or  wrong,  it's  a 
fact.  Then,  there  are  other  people  beside  policemen  who  are 
unhappy  about  the  University  of  California.   I  don't  want  to 
make  a  speech  about  this  but  everybody  knows  who  pays  attention 
to  anything  on  this  campus.  This  runs  to  the  incumbent  state 
administration  and  to  the  legislature  and  such  things  as 
faculty  salaries.  A  very  long  story,  which  has  nothing  to  do 
with  Vollmer. 

JRH:  The  resentment  in  those  days  was  more  specifically  related  to 
the  fact  that  they  were  considered  an  elite  cop  corps  getting 
so  much  attention. 

HOLSTROM:   That  was  their  worldwide  reputation  for  which  Vollmer  was 

responsible.  An  extraordinary  amount  of  national  publicity, 
even  international  about  this  little  police  department  in  a 
small  town. 


Why  do  you  think  it  got  so  much  publicity? 


HOLSTP.OM:   Because  of  Vollmer 1 

JRH:   Did  he  promote  the  publicity?  It  was  unusual,  I  guess. 

HOLSTROM:   He  had  a  greater  sense  of  publicity  than  anybody  I  ever  net 
and  I  suppose  now  maybe  we're  talking  about  Vollmer  the  man; 
I  don't  know  what  subject  matter  this  falls  under.   In  the 
days  of  Vollraer's  incumbency  and  even  to  right  around  the 
time  of  World  War  II,  we  didn't  have  television.  We  had 
some  radio,  some  newscasts,  some  special  programs,  but  the 
media,  the  channels,  were  newspapers;  and  Vollmer  really 
understood  how  to  get  along  with  newspapers.  The  Berkeley 
Gazette  supported  him  tremendously  and  I  inherited  that 
support.  I  didn't  invent  it,  the  Oakland  Tribune  under 
J.R.  Knowland,  Sr.,  who  was  the  publisher  and  during  all  of 
the  years  that  Rose  Glavinovich,  a  very  capable  newspaperwoman 
was  the  dean  of  the  Berkeley  Press  Corps.  The  Police  Depart 
ment  in  Berkeley  for  many  years  got  a  good  deal  more  column 
inches  in  the  Oakland  Tribune  than  did  the  Oakland  Police, 
for  example,  because  Vollmer  knew  how  to  get  along  with  the 

JP.H:   It's  sort  of  surprising  if  there  was  so  much  resentment, 
say,  of  the  Oakland  Police,  of  Berkeley  Police,  that  they 
would  print  this  stuff  about  what  he  was  doing. 

HOLSTROM:   It  was  a  metropolitian  newspaper  and  it  wasn't  owned  by  the 
City  of  Oakland.  It  was  owned  by  J.R.  Knowland. 

JRH:   How  did  he,  he  Just  got  on  well  with  Knowland?  He'd  always 
send  his  stuff  down  to  him  or  what? 

HOLSTROM:   He  dealt  through  Rose  Glavinovich  who  was  one  of  his 
protegees,  even  though  she  was  a  newspaper  woman. 

JRH:   She  was  what?  Dean  of  the  Berkeley  press? 

HOLSTROM:   Police  Press  Corps.  Rose  was  extremely  capable.  People  trusted 
her.   I  did  and  Vollmer  did.  She  was  based  in  the  Police 
Department  in  the  Press  Room. 

JPH:   She  was  paid  by  the  City  or  by  the  Berkeley  P.L.,  or  she  was  a 
member  of  the  paper  staff? 

HOLSTROM:   lk>,  she  worked  for  the  Tribune  and  her  first  loyalty  was  to 
her  publisher  and  boss  Mr.  Knowland. 

JRH:   But  her  office  was  in  your,  in  the  Police  Department? 


HOLFTROM:   The  Police  Department  furnished  a  Press  Office. 
JRH:   That  was  handy! 

HGLSTROK:   Yes!  Way  up  until  the  time  I  retired  and  perhaps  later, 
full  time  representation  from  the  Tribune ,  the  Gazette, 
the  Examiner  and  the  Chronicle,  and  in  the  days  when  it 
was  published,  the  Oakland  Post  Inquirer,  they  were  housed 
right  in  the  iriddle  of  the  Detective  Division. 

JBH:   So  you  had  five  press  people  working,  stationed  at  the  T.D. 
full  time . 

HOLSTROM:   With  open  access  to  the  files. 

JPH:   That's  important  to  the  press  people  too.  That's  something 
they  always  complain  about  —  they  don't  have  enough  action. 

HOLSTTOM:   This  was  an  extraordinary  unioue  press  relationship  that  went 
on  well  into  the  early  part  of  ny  administration.   It  was  such 
a  feelinf  of  confidence,  not  always  honored,  but  most  of  the 
time,  so  that  Vollmer  was  able,  my  predecessor  Greening  was 
able  and  I  was  able,  on  an  extremely  selective  basis,  to  record 
a  case,  give  it  a  serial  number  and  put  a  notice  on  what  we 
call  the  daily  bulletin,  which  carried  a  synopsis  of  every  case 
we  handled;  we  were  able  to  put  on  it  a  notation  'no  publicity' 
and  this  was  honored  by  the  press .  We  had  to  be  very  careful 
not  to  overdo  it.  Times  changed  and  it  was  no  longer  handled 
in  that  fashion.  They  have  now  a  Berkeley  Police  Press  Officer. 
They  no  longer  have  access  to  the  files. 

JP.K:   They  no  longer  have  office  space  in  your.... 

HOLSTROM:  I  don't  know  whether  or  not  they  have  office  space.  I  don't 
think  so.  I  haven't  inquired  in  the  last  four  or  five  years 
when  this  change  came  about. 

JHH:   Did  Vollrer  request  that  all  of  these  people  come  and  be 
stationed  there? 

HOLSTROM:   I.'o,  the  newspapers  sent  them  because  this  was  a  source  of  news. 

JRH:   normally  a  police  department  is  not  a  real  big  source  of  news 
or  maybe  it  was  more  so  — 

HOLSTPOM:   It  was  more  so  maybe  five,  ten  years  ago  than  it  is  today. 
All  you  have  to  do  is  pick  up  the  newspaper  and  read  the 
crime  news  and  interested  people  still  do.  The  only  difference 
is  today  that  homicides  very  frequently  tend  to  be  on  the  inside 
pages.  Five  years  ago  they  were  on  the  front  page.  F.ose  can 

HOLSTROM:   tell  you  more  about  the  press  than  I  can;  she  lived  with  it. 
I've  told  you  toy  relationship  with  her  was  and  is  very  close. 

JRH:   That  was  very  interesting  because  it  shows  how  he  got  his 

ideas  across.  He  had  all  these  people  there  and  they  wrote 
up  all  his  press  releases  for  bin. 

HOLSTROM:   Oh,  he  didn't  write  them,  they  wrote  them.   If  he  thought 

there  was  something  that  they  might  be  interested  in  or  that 
he  was  interested  in,  then  he'd  call  them  in  and  tell  them. 
He  was  meticulous  that  if  one  newspaper  reporter  knew  it, 
all  of  them  should  know  it ;  because  he  knew  enough  to  get 
along  with  City  Editors.  They're  not  always  easy  people  to 
get  along  with,  I'll  tell  you  from  experience.  Well,  the 
press  thing  is  a  subject  you  can  get  Rose  to  talk  about,  she 
can  tell  you. 

IV:   "What  was  Vollmer's  Professional  Impact?  What  were  the  major 
ideas  and  principles  that  Vollmer  stood  for?  What  were  the 
major  influences  Vollmer  had  on  Police  in  education  and 
training  or  in  other  areas?" 

JFH:   I  think  that  what  we  want  here  is  the  same  thing  you  said 

about  the  Parker  book;  I  don't  think  there  is  much  need  for 
us  to  go  over  what  has  already  been  printed  or  what  you  know 
that's  written  somewhere  else,  but  from  your  point  of  viev 
either  to  give  a  sense  of...  Like  the  last  thing,  the  publicity, 
it  gave  us  an  idea  of  how  he  got  his  ideas  across.  Something 
in  relation  to  that  or  how  his  ideas  came  from  his  personality. 
Not  so  much  what  is  recorded  in  writing  elsewhere. 

HOLSTEOM:   Well,  vhat  was  Vollaer's  professional  impact?  Again,  I  would 
refer  you  to  that  book  The  Crime  Fighter  by  Parker.  I  would 
also  refer  you  to  what  I  consider  to  be  a  not  very  good  book, 
which  is  listed  in  the  supplementary,  by  V.A.  Leonard  titled 
The  Police  of  the  Twentieth  Century .  Leonard  is  really  not 
precisely  accurate  all  the  time,  but  you  can  gain  from  Leonard's 
book  some  of  Leonard's  impressions,  and  they're  essentially 
correct,  of  Vollaer's  professional  impact.  I  would  say  simply, 
and  it  cannot  be  honestly  challenged  by  anyone,  that  he  was 
often  called,  as  most  of  who  know  believe  it  today,  the  father 
of  modern  police  administration.   I  say  this  without  Qualifi 
cation  or  exception  of  any  kind.  That  was  his  broad  professional 

JTUI:   Some  of  the  things  he  stood  for,  I  guess  and  what  you've  told 

me,  like  training,  educating  them,  the  use  of  fingerprinting  — 
where  do  you  think  he  got  the  ideas?  What  I'm  interested  in 
is  how  he  cot  to  thinking  that  way. 


HOLSTPGM:   How  did  he  get  to  thinking  the  way  he  did?  Let's  see,  first 
I'm  confident  that  his  abstract  intelligence  level  was  very 
high.   I  believe  that  people  of  that  kind  have  very  high 
imaginations;  I  believe  that  his  high  imagination  led  him  to 
the  things  that  one  could  call  his  own  innovations.  He  didn't 
really  care  whether  he  thought  them  up  or  somebody  else  did. 
If  he  didn't  innovate  them,  to  use  that  word,  then  he  adapted 
them  or  he  adopted  them  and  he  didn't  much  care  who  got  the 
credit  for  them;  it  didn't  make  any  difference  to  him.  He  was 
only  interested  in  whether  something  was  useful;  if  it  was  he 
would  use  it.   If  he  attempted  it  and  found  out  it  wasn't  useful 
he  dropped  it.   It  didn't  disturb  him  that  some  things  didn't 
work  for  him  or  somebody  else.  He  took  the  view  that  if  out  of 
several  ideas  one  was  useful  that  was  worthwhile;  it  was  his 
same  view  about  people.   If  someone  he  recommended  was  successful, 
if  one  out  of  ten  was  his  score,  there  was  a  certain  satisfation 
for  him. 

JKH:   Sometimes,  though,  if  he  recommended  things  that  don't  work, 
people  you  didn't  think  were  too  competent? 

HOLSTROM:   What  he  was  able  to  do  though  that  some  of  today's  innovators 
that  I  spoke  disparagingly  of  yesterday  do  not,  is  that  some 
of  these  latter-day  people  who  are  trying  desperately  to  inno 
vate  and  who  are  unable  to  apply  those  innovations  successfully 
are  quite  different  from  this  man.  The  things  that  he  attempted 
in  the  main  and  carried  through  proved  to  be  practical,  useful. 

JRH:   So  he  got  usually  a  better  than  one  out  of  ten  average. 

HOLSTROM:  The  score  was  good  enough  so  that  he  was  the  father  of  modern 
police  administration.  It  wasn't  all  Vollner,  it  was  Vollmer 
and  the  people  around  him  and  the  people  he  encouraged.  This 

was  by  no  means  a  one  man  show,  from  the  start, 
in  Parker's  book. 

That's  reflected 

What  were  the  major  ideas  and  principles  that  he  stood  for?  I 
suppose  that  this  can  be  answered  in  several  ways,  though  one 
is  that  he  believed  in  almost  absolute  honesty  and  integrity 
as  concerned  himself  and  his  people.  Of  course,  this  gained 
him  respect ,  even  among  people  who  would  have  like  to  have  been 
less  than  honest  as  he  would  have  liked. 

That  reminds  me  -of  another  anecdote.  One  of  the  interesting 
series  of  things  that  some  of  us  observed  over  the  years.  A 
number  of  people  he  communicated  with  by  letter,  the  number  of 
people  who  came  to  see  him  who  were  actually  inmates  of  the  big 
prisons  or  were  ex-inmates.  Dean  Chernin  will  tell  you  that, 
it  used  to  disturb  him  even  in  the  years  that  Vollmer  was  on 
the  campus  in  the  1930' s,  by  the  number  of  ex-inmates  of  £an 
Quentin  who  came  to  call  on  the  Chief. 

HOLSTPOM:   I  have  no  difficulty  in  recalling  that  his  inspectors  carried 

on  correspondence  with  people  that  they  had  sent  to  Can  Quentin 
and  I  think  the  Leonard  book  indicates  that  among  the  other 
people  he  encouraged  were  two  people  who  wrote  books  while 
they  were  in  prison.   I  have  now  forgotten  the  titles.  One  of 
them  was 'You  Can't  Win"by  a  man  by  the  name  of  Jack  Black,  who 
wrote  this  book  before  that  summer  session  who  was  in  San  Quen 
tin  and  another  one  was  a  man,  I  think  his  name  was  Sutherland. 
In  any  event  this  is  in  Leonard's  book. 

He  was  a  kind  man,  a  compassionate  man  and  he  was  the  author  of 
the  statement,  "Everytime  the  doors  of  San  Quentin,  which  was 
then  our  leading  prison,  opened  to  admit  somebody,  they  also 
opened  to  release  somebody."  So  these  people  are  not  put  away 
forever  and  you  can't  ignore  them.  There  was  another  relation 
ship  that  he  maintained.   Interesting  one! 

JBH:   How  would  he  get  to  know  the  Inmates?  When  they  were  released 
from  San  Quentin,  they  would  come  to  talk?  Or  they  would  be... 

HOLSTPOM:   Sometimes  they'd  come  and  talk  to  hiir.  He  had  it  arranrert,  so 
the  Record  Bureau  was  notified  about  all  releases  from  state 

JRH:   Gene  said  he  had  quite  a  tine  arranging  that,  that  was  resisted. 
The  first  notices  were  Just  to  San  Francisco,  Oakland  or  r.ore- 

HOLSTPOM:   Berkeley  had  the  first  arrangement  of  this  kind  in  this  area 
so  far  as  I  know  and  that  was  somewhat  before  my  time.  By 
the  time  I  got  there  this  was  routine;  it  no  longer  happens. 
It  doesn't  fit  in  with  modern  penology  for  a  policeman  to 
know  who's  been  paroled.  That's  a  different  subject  too. 

Let's  talk  about  principles.  He  had  another  principle  that 
was  firmly  established  by  1931,  the  time  T  got  there,  and 
this  has  to  do  with  the  use  of  force.  We  were  talking  about 
the  third  degree  and  most  people  relate  this  to  physical 
force.  Every  Berkeley  police  recruit  became  aware  immediately 
about  that  one.  We  had  rules  and  regulations,  but  some  of 
them  were  flexible.  There  were  some  that  were  not  flexible. 
Dishonesty  was  inflexible!  On  force,  the  rule  was  very  s5irnle. 
I  heard  him  refer  to  it  more  than  once.   I  heard  it  from  him 
when  I  was  a  police  recruit.   It  was  that  no  Berkeley  police 
man  should  ever  strike  any  person,  particularly  a  prisoner, 
except  in  extreme  self-defense;  and  then  he  said,  if  you  ever 
do,  you  have  Just  resigned.  You  needn't  bother  to  come  in  and 
discuss  it  and  this  one  he  meant. 

IIOLCTROM:   I  remember  his  returning  perhaps  in  1932  from  the  University 
of  Chicago  and  Captain  Lee  had  been  the  acting  police  chief. 
I  think  I  remember  this,  but  I  may  have  read  it  in  depart 
mental  meeting  minutes,  he  took  occasion  to  say  at  this 
departmental  meeting;  they  wanted  a  comment  about  an  inci 
dent  that  occured  while  he  was  away  that  he  had  discussed 
with  the  Captain  upon  his  return.   It  might  have  been 
possible  to  rationalize  it,  he  said,  but  it  was  necessary, 
so  I  Just  want  to  tell  you  that,  first,  the  Captain  made 
the  decision.  I  wasn't  here,  and  so  his  decision  stands. 
All  the  Captain  did  was  to  admonish  the  policeman.  He 
said,  'Had  I  been  here,  if  he  had  not  immediately  resigned, 
I  would  have  fired  him.   I  want  no  one  to  misunderstand  my 
position.   I've  said  enough  about  that.   I'm  sure  you 
understand  me."  We  had  no  difficulty  understanding. 

This  was  as  late  as  the  1930's.  The  physical  third  degree, 
the  beating,  perhaps  for  no  real  good  reason,  perhaps  to 
extract  confessions,  was  not  uncommon  in  this  country-  It 
probably  was  touched  upon  in  the  Vickershain  Report,  which 
Vollmer  worked  on  in  the  1930 's. 

Today  Berkeley  police  have  what  they  call  their  Police 
Regulations.  Current  police  regulations  were  produced 
under  my  administration  in  1950  when  we  updated  the  old 
192U  regulations  because  we  couldn't  apply  them.  It's 
true  that  these  were  developed  by  a  committee  of  policemen 
representative  of  all  ranks  with  me,  the  Chief,  reserving 
the  final  decision  on  what  would  go  into  it  and  what 
would  not  go  into  it.  By  and  large,  while  Vollmer  had 
nothing  to  do  directly  with  these  regulations  they  were 
the  product  of  people  who  had  been  taught  the  Vollmer 
ideals  and  the  Vollmer  principles  and  reference  to  those 
police  rules  today  would  be  a  very  fair  reflection  of 
Vollmer.  They  were  so  carefully  discussed  and  carefully 
written  that  this  is  1971  and  although  they've  been 
modified  necessarily  because  of  the  passage  of  time,  they 
are  not  only  enforceable,  but  they're  almost  self-enforcing. 
Everybody  understands  them  and  they're  not  Just  a  set  of 
regulations  that  people  ignore,  which  so  often  happens  to 
rules  and  regulations .  These  are  the  standards  of  the 
Department  today  and  this  is  a  very  direct  product  of  the 
Vollmer  influence,  written  by  those  of  us  who  either 
served  with  him  or  followed  him  and  were  subjected  to  his 

JRH:   I'm  curious  about  one  aspect,  and  I  think  Gene's  interested, 
and  that  is  how  a  man  gets  that  sort  of  mind.  Was  it  from 
his  family? 

HOLSTROM:   I  don't  know!  O.W.  Wilson,  who  you  and  I  are  going  to  see 

in  fan  liepo  this  Friday,  may  know  about  this.   I  think  it's 
Just  the  kind  of  man  he  was.   I  have  no  idea.   I  don't  know 
who  influenced  him.   I  an  quite  sure  that  his  parents  did, 
but  to  what  degree  I  don't  know.  He  was  a  man  of  high  prin 

I'm  sure  that  you  have  seen  cartoons  or  heard  about  the 
policeman  taking  the  apple  from  the  peddler's  stand.  The 
policeman  and  gratuities.   I've  heard  dozens  of  stories. 
It  may  be  true  today  about  policemen  taking  advantage  of 
what  is  supposed  to  be  their  position  —  free  cigarettes, 
free  cigars,  free  liquor,  free  meals.  This  is  Just  the 
beginning  of  the  whole  thing,  of  pay-offs  of  various  kinds. 
Vollmer  had  a  very  clear  and  firm  policy  on  this  from  the 
very  outset  and  that  is  that  no  Berkeley  policeman  could 
accept  gratuities.  Gratuities  may  have  been  the  rule  rather 
than  the  exception  when  I  became  a  policeman  in  1931,  but 
not  in  Berkeley.  You  did  not  accept  even  a  free  cup  of 
coffee.  You  paid  for  it.  You  didn't  accept  anything  else 
and  I'c  confident  that  it's  true  today.  I  know  that  it  was 
true  up  to  I960,  through  my  own  period  of  service.  This 
was  carried  to  the  point  that  some  people  thought  was  the 

On  those  occasions  where  gifts,  gratuities  were  sent  to 
Berkeley  policemen  or  given  to  them,  the  rule  was  clear. 
It  was  promptly  reported;  the  material,  whatever  it  was 
money  or  goods ,  was  promptly  turned  into  the  Personnel 
Officer.  The  recipient  was  given  the  opportunity  to 
return  it  to  the  donor;  if  he  didn't  chose  to  do  so  the 
Personnel  Officer  did,  with  thanks  and  an  explanation 
that  it  could  not  be  accepted  even  though  it  was  given 
in  good  faith  by  someone  who  thought  the  policemen  did 
something  extraordinary  and  it  was  a  gift  from  the  heart. 
Sometimes,  and  I  had  to  do  it  myself,  people  were  not 
always  happy  about  getting  gifts  returned;  but  they  were 
returned  with  the  best  explanations  that  we  had. 

I  think  of  one  or  two  occasions  where  those  things  were 
not  promptly  reported  and  the  policemen  found  themselves 
in  difficulty  and  it  was  major  difficulty.  Do  you  want 
me  to  give  you  an  illustration  or  are  we  wasting  tape? 
After  Vollmer  retired  we  had  a  policeman,  I  had  a  tele 
phone  call  from  the  then  Superintendent  of  the  very  large 
Heinz  plant  in  Berkeley,  who  had  grown  up  in  Berkeley, 


HOLSTKOM:   and  he  said,  'Chief,  I  want  to  tell  you  something.  You  have 
an  officer  who's  been  very  friendly  with  my  people  and  we're 
glad  to  have  him  around.'   The  Superintendent  said  that, 
"The  other  day  he  approached  one  of  my  foremen  and  said  it 
would  be  nice  if  he  had  a  case  of  catsup  and  so  my  foreman 
gave  it  to  him.1   A  case  of  catsup  means  nothing  whatever 
to  me  or  the  Keinz  Co.,  but  I  didn't  think  it  was  in  con 
formity  with  the  Berkeley  policy  and  he  said,  ''I  don't  want 
to  get  this  man  in  trouble." 

The  result  of  this  was  that  we  interviewed  the  policeman,  we 
had  a  staff  discussion  about  it  and  we  applied  what  we 
thought  were  the  principles  that  we'd  learned  from  Vollmer. 
We  decided  not  to  fire  him;  we  suspended  him  for  two  weeks 
and  we  reduced  him  to  the  bottom  of  the  seniority  list 
which  affected  his  assignments,  required  him  to  work  nights, 
he  lost  his  vacation  selection.  We  did  everything  to  him 
short  of  separation,  lie  stayed  at  the  bottom  of  that  seniority 
list  for  a  year  on  good  behavior.  At  the  end  of  the  year  we 
restored  him.  We  had  made  our  point. 

JRH:   To  everybody  else  tool 

HCLSTROiM:   Well,  certainly  I  Whether  this  was  reasonable  or  unreasonable, 
at  least  this  was  an  adherence  to  what  we  thought  we  were 
taught . 

JRIi:   I  guess  the  guy  said  that's  the  important  kind  of  thing  to 

HOLSTROM:   Well,  so  much  for  gratuities!  We  were  not  permitted  to  accept 
witness  fees.  We  went  to  Court  in  the  early  days  on  our  own 
overtime  and  in  latter  days  we  were  paid  by  the  City.  The 
witness  fees  were  paid  by  the  Court.  They  reverted  to  the 
City  Treasury.  On  this  subject,  of  not  accepting  things,  in 
my  early  years  it  was  a  rule  rather  than  the  exception  for 
there  to  be  police  balls,  dances,  that  is.  Policemen  sold 
tickets,  going  out  and  selling  them  to  people  under  some 
duress.  There  was  never  a  police  ball  in  Berkeley,  although 
there  certainly  were  in  neighboring  cities.  The  principle 
was  simple  —  that  you  simply  don't  seek  favors  and  then  you 
have  no  obligations  to  repay  them.  Ke  was  attempting  to 
professionalize;  an  attempt  that  is  still  going  on. 
I  think  that's  about  all  for  the  moment  on  your subject  about 
ideas  and  principles. 

You  asked  what  were  the  major  influences  that  Vollmer  had  on 
policing?  A  subject  that  would  reouire  considerable  develop 
ment;  again,  I  refer  you  to  the  Leonard  and  the  Parker  books. 

JRH:   Well,  I  guess  we  can  skip  most  of  that  because  most  of  it 
is  recorded  in  the  books . 

HOLSTROM:   One  thing  that  isn't  recorded  and  that  was  a  major  Influence 
that  continues  right  up  to  this  month,  was  that  Vollmer  in 
these  books  and  elsewhere  was  recorded  that  he  did  a  number 
of  administrative  surveys,  administrative  studies  to  re 
organize.  And  these  ranged  from  all  kinds  of  places,  Japan, 
Kansas  City,  Chicago,  Havana.   Inspector  Woods  going  to 
Nanking.  On  the  subject  of  surveys,  because  this  had  a 
major  influence,  it  really  is  not  recorded,  I  have  it  recorded 
in  a  term  paper  that  a  police  officer  from  the  Philippines 
did  for  me  in  the  School  in  a  Criminology  course  in  1963. 
He  cane  here,  he  was  interested  in  administrative  service  and 
asked  me  if  I  wanted  to  undertake  a  special  project  and  what 
I  knew  about  Vollmer  and  he  developed  a  book,  a  term  report 
which  I  have  in  my  possession.  It's  titled,  ''An  Analysis  of 
Organization  and  Administrative  Surveys  in  Police  Departments 
in  the  United  States."  The  Phillipine  Kational's  name  was 
Vivencio  Austere.  The  largest  collection  of  police  studies 
of  this  kind  exists  in  the  combined  collection  of  the  Insti 
tute  of  Governmental  Studies  on  the  Campus  here,  in  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department,  and  in  my  own  very  much  less 
extensive  collection. 

Sometime  about  19M,  a  Lieutenant  by  the  name  of  Bowers  and 
I  spent  every  Tuesday  night  for  a  year  with  him  in  a  two- 
man  seminar  on  the  subject  of  police  surveys.  Out  of  that 
grew  some  extensive  activity  in  this  connection.  "Tien, 
Vollrcer  himself  had  sent  people  out  to  do  surveys. 

JP.H:   You  mean  in  the  sense  of  management  studies? 

HOLSTROM:   Yes,  management  studies  I  We  called  them  surveys,  for  better 
or  for  worse.  O.W.  Wilson  did  some  and  there  were  other 
people  under  Vollmer  who  did.  Captain,  later  Chief,  Greening 
did  a  1932  study  of  the  Honolulu  Police  Department  following 
the  Massie  case,  a  famous  case  in  the  way  of  history.  In  1932, 
Greening  did  one  that  I  recall  in  San  Rafael.  Then  my  memory 
really  carries  me  to  my  own  incumbency  as  the  Police  Chief 
and  then  subsequently  my  own  staff  which  I  used  as  an  advisory 
group.  We  decided  on  a  number  of  policies.  One  of  them  was 
that  we  would  attempt  to  see  that  every  officer  from  the  rank 
of  Lieutenant  and  above,  and  there  were  only  a  handful,  would 
have  the  opportunity  to  do  at  least  one  of  these  and  I  think 
of  any  nurter  of  them  that  were  done.   Captain,  then  Lieutenant 
John  Lindouist,  a  simple  one  in  Walnut  Creek;  later  a  compli 
cated  one  at  Anchorage,  Alaska,  which  is  a  very  involved  story. 


HOLSTROM:   There  was  a  lot  of  local  difficulty,  undone  at  the  request  of 
the  City  Manappr,  whose  Job  war.  in  Jeopardy  at  that  time. 
Lieutenant  Whaley  at  Des  Moines;  I  think  of  Lieutenant  Sickler 
at  perhaps  Manteca,  and  some  in  Eureka.  These  are  in  addition 
to  the  ones  that  are  recorded  about  Vollmer  himself.  At  one 
point  most  of  these  studies  in  this  country  were  done  by 
Vollmer  and  then  by  O.W.  Wilson  based  on  what  he  had  learned 
from  Vollmer.   I  think  of  then  Lieutenant,  now  Chief  of  Campus 
Police,  William  Beall  at  Medford,  Oregon,  in  1951.  There  were 

JRH:  There  were  a  great  many  people. 

HOLSTROM:  Yes,  a  lot  of  them.  Now,  the  outgrowth  of  this,  was  that  these 
ranking  officers  had  these  experiences  and  they  came  back  to 
us  broader  people  for  having  thought  about  these  things,  for 
having  to  apply  the  Vollmer  principles.   In  the  year  that  I 
was  president  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of 
Police  we  established  the  Field  Service  Division  of  IACP 
which  today  does  the  bulk  of  these  studies  with  a  highly 
competent  staff. 

JRH:  Field  Service  Division  of  what? 

HOLSTROM:   International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police.   It's  an  inter 
esting  commentary  that  today's  director  of  the  Field  Service 
Division  of  the  IACP  is  a  man  by  the  name  of  Roy  McLaren;  Roy 
was  a  Berkeley  policeman  and  a  student  of  mine  for  a  year. 
There  are  several  other  people  on  that  IACP  staff  who  came 
from  Berkeley  or  from  Oakland.  This  is  traceable  directly  to 
Vollmer.   Captain  Greening,  incidentally,  did  one  of  Santa 
Barbara  in  1937.  V.A.  Leonard  in  Seattle.  There  are  a  number 
of  them,  that's  my  point.  The  present  Police  Chief  of  Alameda, 
formerly  Berkeley  Police  Captain  Richard  Young  surveyed 
Klamath  Falls. 

Now  in  my  own  case  after  I  retired  in  I960,  I  began  to  do  a 
number  of  these.  My  own  bio-sketch  of  which  you  have  a  copy 
of  will  reflect  this.  That  bio-sketch  lists  perhaps  a  dozen 
or  so  and  if  you're  interested  in  this,  the  smallest  one, 
(I've  had  to  answer  this  question  before  —  "What  was  the 
smallest  one  you  ever  did?")  I  hold  an  international  distinc 
tion.  I  once  spent  two  months  studying  the  two-man  police 
department  of  the  exclusive  community  of  Ross,  California. 
The  largest  one  I  have  done  alone  was  1967  on  Honolulu  with  a 
complement  of  1105  people.  The  most  extensive  thing  I've  ever 
gotten  mixed  up  with  was  not  a  survey,  but  a  study  of  law 
enforcement  agencies  of  the  Treasury  Department.  That,  I  felt 
I  was  not  capable  of  doing  alone  so  it  was  done  for  the  Secre 
tary  of  the  Treasury  by  me  with  Bruce  Smith,  Sr.  and  O.W.  Wilson 


HOLSTROM:   in  about  1953.  What  I  knew  and  what  Wilson  knew  derived 

principally  from  Vollmer  and  his  ideas,  probably  embellished 
by  our  own  thoughts,  adapting  to  whatever  the  situation  was. 

We're  on  the  subject  of  his  influences  on  policing,  I  need 
not  relate  here  because  it's  in  the  books  about  the  influences 
in  the  field  of  transportation,  the  Berkeley  innovation  or 
adaptations  of  the  use  of  the  bicycle  as  early  as  1906,  the 
use  of  the  motorcycle,  the  early  use  of  the  automobile.  The 
early  developments  in  Berkeley,  although  not  the  first  in 
police  radio,  in  the  area  of  communications  for  example. 

Influences  on  education,  you  ask?  Awhile  ago  we  were  attempting 
to  establish  a  date  and  the  current  bulletin,  the  1970-71 
bulletin  of  the  School  of  Criminology  says  in  its  opening  sentence 
that  the  study  of  criminology  in  Berkeley  began  in  a  summer 
program  in  19l6.  A  program  designed  by  Vollmer  and 
Alexander  Kidd,  who  was  a  professor  of  law,  evolved  into  a 
group  major;  which  was  in  political  science  in  1933  and  was 
still  in  political  science  when  I  began  teaching  in  19^5;  that 
grew  into  the  School  of  Criminology  which  was  established  in 
1950.  Now,  this  is  education,  as  distinguished  from  training. 

You  asked  me  how  the  School  was  developed?  Vollmer  had  dreamt 
about  it  for  more  than  thirty  years ,  as  he  explained  to  me  one 
time,  when  I  became  relatively  impatient  before  1950,  and  I 
was  attempting  to  help,  in  a  modest  way,  Dr.  Paul  Kirk  who  was 
making  the  necessary  arrangements  with  the  Academic  Senate  to 
get  the  School  established.   It  was  established  because  Vollmer 
had  dreamed  of  it  and  it  was  established  directly  in  1950;  its 
establishment  was  possible  because  there  had  been  enough  deve 
lopment  behind  it  at  that  time  and  because  two  close  friends 
of  his  were  in  the  positions  they  were.  One  was  Robert  Gordon 
Sproul,  who  was  president  of  the  University  and  the  other  was 
a  close  personal  friend  of  his,  Monroe  Deutsch,  who  was  then  what 
they  called  the  Provost  of  the  University  and  was  in  charge  of 
this  campus.   It  was  with  the  support  of  Sproul  and  Deutsch  that 
Vollmer  was  encouraged  to  direct  the  efforts  of  Paul  Kirk  and 
my  contribution  was  very  nodest  indeed!   I  was  on  the  faculty 
and  did  not  have  the  academic  stature  that  Kirk,  did,  but  I  was 
highly  involved  and  it  was  I  instead  of  O.W.  Wilson,  only  because 
at  the  time  that  the  ground  work  was  done,  in  about  the  period 
'U6-'U7,  O.W.  was  still  on  duty  with  the  Military  Occupation 
Forces  in  Germany. 

That's  how  the  School  of  Criminology  got  started.   Summer 
sessions  and  the  early  Berkeley  Police  Training  School  are 
described  in  Parker's  book.   I've  referred  so  many  times  to 
the  utilization  of  people  in  the  academic  disciplines  in  the 
University  and  their  incidental  utilization  in  criminal 


KOLSTPOM:   investigations.  People  in  all  kinds  of  endeavors  up  here 
in  the  natural  sciences,  in  forestry,  for  example,  because 
of  the  interest  in  woods,  in  evidence  in  wood.   In  any  event 
the  training  school  by  the  middle  of  the  1930 's  had  evolved 
into  something  that  Vollmer  had  long  thought  about  and  that 
was  the  establishment  of  some  kind  of  a  school  in  an  educa 
tional  institution  of  higher  learning. 

There  was  a  man  who  was  president  of  San  Jose  State  College, 
it  escapes  me  at  the  moment,  but  Brereton  or  Schmidt  can  tell 
you,  was  sympathetic  to  this  idea.  Earl  Warren,  who  was  then 
District  Attorney  of  Alameda  County  and  Vollmer  were  clone 
friends.  Warren,  of  course,  because  he  was  a  lawyer,  knew 
about  the  value  of  education  and  it  was  due  to  the  efforts 
of  these  three  men  in  the  middle  1930 's  the  first  Police 
School  —  the  School  of  Police  Administration  at  San  Jose 
State  began.  That  was  the  nucleus  of  police  education  and 
traininr  —  these  are  two  different  words  —  that  have 
evolved  into  courses  variously  titled  Police  Science,  Police 
Administration,  or  even  Criminology  today,  in  over  seventy 
State  and  Junior  colleges  in  the  State  of  California.  This 
is  more  than  is  given  in  the  other  forty-nine  states  combined. 
It's  directly  traceable  to  one  man  whose  name  was  Vollmer  and 
this  is  no  exaggeration I 

JRH:   I  know  Gene  is  Just  going  to  be  one  of  the  people  starting 
the  undergraduate  program  at  this  college  and  

HGLSTROM:   That's  right.  Gene  is  getting  ready  to  go  to  some  place  like 
Trenton  State  College. 

JRH:   They've  never  had  a  Criminology  program. 

HOLSTROM:   Ho,  they've  never  had  one.  There  is  substantial  expansion  in 
the  country  in  the  last  very  few  years.   It  was  brought  about 
in  no  srall  measurement  because  the  national  and  state  admini 
strations  are  concerned  about  crime  in  the  streets.  As  every 
body  knows  Congress  has  appropriated  millions  of  dollars  and 
there  are  grants  available.  Money  is  attractive  to  the  univer 
sity  administrators.  This  has  quite  a  bit  to  do  with  the 
establishment  of  some  of  these  programs  in  many  colleges  and 
universities  in  the  country  today. 

JRH:  I'm  interested  in  moving  on,  it's  getting  later  and  I'm  inte 
rested  in  hearing  what  you  have  to  say.  Especially  I'm  inte 
rested  in  the  community  and  state  activities. 


HOLSTROM:      Alright,  you  want  to  talk  about  community  and  state,   and  I 
insist  on  reading  this  because  I  vent  to  all  the  trouble  of 
writing  it  down.      "What  kind  of  man  was  Vollmer  and  what  did 
he  believe  in?"     Let  me  Just  give  you  some  things  that  I 
chose  to  call  Vollmer isms.     These  are  short  sentences.      You 
have  to  remember  who  they  were  beamed  to;  policemen  in  those 
late  afternoon  departmental  meetings.      I  Just  Jotted  down 
three  or  four  of  them.     This  will  show  what  kind  of  man  he 
was!      "Kill  them  with  kindness,"  teaching  his  policemen  this, 
you  see.      "Never  hit  a  person  except  in  self-defense;   if  you 
do,  you  have  Just  resigned."     "Never  argue  with  a  drunk  or 
a  nut,  you'll  only  lower  yourself  to  his  level,     and  you 
never  strike  either  one  of  them  under  any  provocation." 
"There  could  be  more   fair  Justice  disposed  at  the  curbstone 
than  in  some  of  the  highest  courts."     "Keep  them  indebted  to 
you."     And  then  I  had  another  one  in  the  area  of  anecdotes. 
Did  I  tell  you  about  the  Jack  Webb  program? 

JRH:      Yes! 

HOLSTROM:  Alright,  then  I  don't  have  to  tell  you  that  one  again.  Now 
you  want  to  move  along  because  of  the  hour.   In  what  ways, 
you  asked,  was  Vollmer  influential  in  the  community  in  Berkeley? 
Well,  at  the  outset  he  was  elected  to  clean  up  Berkeley  and  he 
did  so.  At  least  up  to  I960,  bearing  in  mind  that  Berkeley 
has  been  a  changing  community  and  the  mores  in  some  elements 
of  this  community  are  different.  But  in  the  prohibition  era  as 
a  college  student  I  knew  that  a  bootlegger,  unless  he  was 
stupid,  wouldn't  come  to  Berkeley.  The  lads  in  the  fraternity 
houses  on  Piedmont  Avenue  met  them  on  College  and  Claremont 
because  that  was  outside  of  Berkeley.  There  were  no  prostitutes 
in  Berkeley.   I  only  remember  two  who  were  living  here,  but 
working  some  place  else,  when  I  was  a  Lieutenant.   I  required 
them  to  come  in  at  ten  o'clock  one  night  and  told  them  I  ex 
pected  them  to  depart  Berkeley  at  eight  o'clock  the  next  morning 
and  they  did.  That  year  might  have  been  1938,  Just  for  example. 
Prostitution,  we  didn't  have;  gambling,  we  even  succeeded  in 
stopping  card  games  in  the  Catholic  church.  Nobody  has  ever 
done  this  except  us  that  I  know  of,  except  Bill  Parker,  who  was 
Chief  of  Police  of  Los  Angeles,  and  got  the  Archbishop  to  give 
him  a  hand. 

JRH:  You  were  saying,  though,  over  at  the  Oral  History  Department 
that  Warren  was  more  interested  in  cracking  down  on  illegal 

HOLSTROM:  He  was!   He  and  Vollmer  were  of  the  same  mind.  What  Vollmer  did 
was  not  to  eradicate  these  kind  of  things ,  he  simply  pushed 
them  north  and  south.   So  when  I  was  in  college  and 


HOLSTROM:   when  I  was  a  young  policeman,  there  vere  bootleggers, 

gamblers ,  and  prostitutes ,  in  Emeryville  on  the  main  street , 
Park  Street.  In  the  early  l?30's  Warren  went  down  with  a 
raiding  party  and  not  only  put  out  of  business  the  Chinese 
gambling  establishments.  Under  the  direction  of  a  man  who 
vas  head  of  his  corps  of  investigators,  legal  or  not,  they 
chopped  up  the  gambling  tables  as  veil  as  some  of  the  doors 
and  windows  in  those  places  and  physically  arrested  scores 
and  scores  of  people.  They  were  brought  to  the  Berkeley 
Jail  because  it  was  considered  a  little  more  secure  than 
some  other  places  in  the  neighboring  communities.  Answer, 
yes,  Warren  had  something  to  do  with  community  problems. 

Now,  was  Vollmer  influential  in  Berkeley?  I  think  so!   I 
think  he  did  initially  what  he  thought  the  community  wanted 
done.   I  think  that  this  continued  into  my  own  incumbency. 
I  think  I  did  what  I  thought  the  community  wanted  done.   I 
won't  take  the  time  to  recount  anecdotes  about  gambling  at 
the  Elk's  Club  and  other  places  that  happened  Just  once  after 
I  became  Chief  of  Police  and  never  happened  again,  lior  about 
taking  the  slot  machines  out  of  the  Elk's  Club,  but  these  all 
stemmed  from  things  that  I  thought  Vollmer  taught  me,  what  I 
thought  the  community  wanted  at  that  point.  At  that  point, 
for  example,  the  Council  of  Churches  was  influential.  I'm 
not  sure  of  this  today.   I  think  the  community  tended  to  follow 
his  leadership  in  these  things  rather  than  his  attempting  to 
follow  the  community.  He  certainly  was  not  permissive  about 
vice.  I  really  don't  know  his  total  involvement  in  the  COETU- 
nity.  I  know  that  in  1931  he  was  the  recipient  of  the  Benjamin 
Ide  Wheeler  award;  which  is  given  biarnually  to  the  Berkeley 
citizen  who  had  made  the  greatest  contribution  to  the  community. 
Paired  after  a  fairous  president  of  the  University  it  still  is 
awarded.  Vollmer,  for  the  things  he  had  done,  was  given  this 
award  in  1931.   I  have  the  original  letter  that  was  written  by 
the  City  .'lanager  then,  who  was  Hollis  Thompson  to  Dr.  Herman 
Swartz  who  was  Chairman  of  the  committee. 

Influence  on  Alameda  County!  Well,  today  the  Chief  of  Police 
of  Alameda  is  a  recently  retired  Berkeley  Police  Captain.  One 
of  his  predecessors  in  Alameda,  Vern  Smith,  was  a  Berkeley 
policeman,  wow,  Berkeley  has  had  a  major  influence  on  what  has 
happened  in  Oakland  in  the  last  15  years  because  a  man  by  the 
name  of  Wynan  Vernon  became  a  Police  Chief  of  Oakland  and  we, 
he  and  I,  had  a  very  close  relationship.  Many  of  the  things 
he  did  to  modernize  Oakland  grew  out  of  what  he  knew  about 
Vollmer  ideas,  grew  out  of  what  he  learned  from  O.W.  Wilson 
who  he  engaged  as  a  consultant,  and  learned  from  his  informal 
conversations  with  our  staff.  Chief  Vernon  was  only  interested 
in  results  and  he  didn't  care  where  he  got  his  ideas  as  long 
as  they  were  useful.  He  was  not  so  proud  that  he  couldn't  ask 

HOLSTROM:   aonebody  else.  This  is  a  little  different  than  the  vay  some 
people  react.  Vollmer  had  a  major  influence  on  policing  in 
Berkeley  and  Alaneda  County,  in  California,  in  the  United 
States  and  to  some  extent  internationally,  just  to  summarize  it. 

JKH:   Gene  irentioned  that  he  and  Warren  worked  together.   I  don't 
know  whether  it  was  when  Warren  was  the  District  Attorney  or 
when  Warren  became  Governor. 

HOLSTBOM:   Warren  was  District  Attorney  of  Alameda  County.  He  was  Attorney 
General  of  California  and  he  was  Governor  of  California;  then 
he  was  the  Chief  Justice. 

JEK:  At  some  point  at  any  rate,  did  they  work  together  to  get  legis 
lation  passed  for  progressive  police  activity?  Was  that  during 
the  time  when  he  was  Attorney  General  or  Governor? 

HOLSTROM:   Warren  was  not  Attorney  General  until  after  Vollmer's  retirement. 
Ify  own  relationship  with  Warren  as  Attorney  General  and  Governor 
was  a  very  close  one.  This  is  something,  out  of  all  these  things 
I  did,  I  didn't  invent,  I  inherited.  I  used  to  say  to  people  I 
didn't  invent  the  Berkeley  Police  Department,  I  inherited  it. 
All  I  wanted  to  do  was  to  try  to  leave  it  as  good  as  I  found  it, 
I  like  to  think  I  did. 

The  development  of  the  Ctate  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification 
and  Investigation  is  recounted  in  Parker's  book.  The  develop 
ment  that  led  to  the  establishment  of  the  Federal  Bureau  of 
Investigation  grew  out  of  Vollmer's  activities,  actually  pre 
ceded  by  activities  of  others  ahead  of  him  in  the  National 
Bureau  of  Identification  which  was  in  existence  at  the  time  of 
the  landmark  conference  of  the  International  Association  of 
Chiefs  of  Police  in  1922  when  Vollmer  became  its  president. 
Probably  that's  a  landmark  conference  because  there  were  estab 
lished  some  study  groups  of  police  chiefs  dedicated  to  improving 
the  police  service  and  it  was  unquestionably  due  to  Vollmer's 
leadership  at  that  conference. 

I  think  I  said  it  yesterday  that  he  often  spoke  with  some  pride 
about  the  accomplishment  of  the  1922  conference  and  I  think  I 
said  yesterday  that  we  have  here  on  the  desk  a  copy  today  of 
the  proceedings  of  that  conference. 

JRK:   Some  of  these  groups  kept  working  together  for  awhile  and  then 
came  up  with  recommendations  and  then  they  managed.... 

KOL£7:C:':   Continue  to  today  and  the  California  Peace  Cfficer's  Association 
has  been  an  influential  factor  in  legislation  in  Sacramento. 

JKH:   Would  you  say  that  this  was  his  major  interest,  that  he  worked 
through  in  getting  through  this  much  through  these  associations? 

HOLSTRC":  No,  he  worked  througiany  channel  that  >e  felt  was  productive. 
It  might  have  been  the  legislature,  members  of  it,  a  governor 
or  colleagues  who  worked  on  these  various  things,  both  at  the 
state  and  national  level. 

JKH:   You  mean  other  police,  say  in  a  state  level,  or  somebody  that 
he  had  worked  with  that  was  in  Sacramento? 

HOLCTPCM:   Gomebody  from  most  any  place.  Today  you  may  find  during  the 
period  of  legislative  meetings  the  police  chiefs  of  the  prin 
cipal  cities  of  California.  You  will  find  that  the  Peace 
Officer's  Association  has  a  what's  impolitely  called  a  Lobbyist, 
and  is  ixslitely  called  a  Legislative  Representative,  on  salary 
in  Sacramento.  This  is  the  vay  it's  done;  it's  done  through 
your  own  legislators,  the  Assemblymen  and  the  Senators  in 
California.  Today  it's  done  in  the  current  administration  and 
it's  true  of  all  of  Governor  Reagan's  predecessors  that  I  know 
anythinp  about.   It  goes  back  to  Warren  in  my  own  personal 
relationships  with  the  Oovernor's  staff.  These  are  simply 
channels . 

JRK:   You  mean  the  Governor's  staff  would  help  you  get,  help  get  the 
legislation  they  wanted  to  get  through. 

HOLSTRC     They  might !   It  works  the  same  way  that  national  things  are 
done,  through  your  Congressmen.   It's  done  by  policemen  too 
through  their  Congressmen.   It's  done  by  police,  police  chiefs, 
police  groups,  Senators;  all  of  them  have  staffs.   It's  done 
through  White  House  staff.  This  President  has  had  groups  of 
police  chiefs  in  to  talk  to  him.  The  most  recent  one  was  a 
group  from  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police 
of  large  cities.  This  is  the  way  it  works. 


JRH:   He  used  those  sorts  of  channels. 
HOLSTRCM:   So  did  his  successors,  including  this  one. 
JRH:   Well,  it's  the  same  as  social  work. 

HOLSTROM:   You  asked,  if  you  want  to  move  along,  how  did  he  relate  to  the 
people  with  whom  he  dealt,  to  his  friends.  You  will  find  these 
people  that  you  interview,  his  employees  and  his  professional 
colleague's  had  tremendous  respect  and  admiration  for  this  man, 
mostly.  Not  everybody  agreed  with  him.  As  I  said  yesterday, 
he  might  have  been  a  half  a  century  ahead  of  his  time,  but 
that  creates  problems,  being  ahead  of  his  time. 


KOLSTROM:   How  your  final  one  here.  But  I  have  one  other  one  about 

relating  to  friends.  After  his  death,  his  frienda  established 
the  August  Vollmer  Memorial  Scholarship  Fund  which  is  a  scholar 
ship  fund  here  for  undergraduate  students  in  Criminology.  That's 
Just  about  the  size  of  it. 

JRH:   I  want  to  ask  you  one  more  thing  that  we  noted  up  here.  You 

mentioned  this  Wickersham  report.  I  know  Gene  mentioned  it  and 
I  was  kind  of  interested  in  that. 

HOLSTROM:   We  today  have  a  significant  series  of  documents  which  are  the 
results  of  the  President's  Commiosion  on  Law  Enforcement  and 
the  Administration  of  Justice.  This  is  about  a  1966  or  so 
effort  of  a  Presidential  Commission  out  of  which  grew  the 
Office  of  Law  Enforcement  Assistance  and  today's  LEAA,  which 
means  Law  aiforcement  Assistance  Administration.   It  administers 
these  millions  of  dollars  appropriated  by  Congress  for  grants 
of  various  kinds.  The  only  other  national  commission  that  has 
been  of  this  kind,  bearing  in  mind  this  was  1966,  was  the  Wicker- 
sham  Report  which  was  published  in  1930  or  '29,  based  on  efforts 
in  the  proceeding  three  or  four  years.  Vollmer  probably  wrote 
most  of  the  section  on  police  and  was  a  member  of  the  Commission. 

JP.H:   Was  that  a  national  or  state  commission? 

HOLSTRCI!:   Presidential!  Named  after  its  chairman  whose  name  was  Wickersham 
who  might  have  been  an  Attorney  General.  But  for  years  authors 
cited  the  Wickersham  Commission.  Out  of  curiosity  whenever  I 
rea<?  a  book ,  I  used  to  thumb  through  it  rapidly  and  look  at  the 
footnotes.   I  did  this  as  late  as  I960.   In  I960,  if  the  footnotes 
consisted  of  mostly  references  to  the  Wickershan  report  T  con 
cluded  the  author  was  Just  a  little  bit  out  of  date  because  I960 
was  thirty  years  after  1930.  At  least  I  don't  see  so  many  foot 
notes  about  the  Wickersham  report  any  more ,  because  now  the 
President's  Commission  of  1966  is  cited. 

I  have  one  final  comment  about  the  Wickersham  report  that  I 
can't  resist.  One  of  the  Berkeley  police  captains  was  the 
author  of  the  statement  that  he  had  been  studying  a  great  deal 
of  sociology  in  the  19^0 's  and  the  1950' s.  He  said  that  his 
observation  was  that  every  time,  and  he  was  uncharitable  about 
sociologists  although  I  don't  have  this  feeling  about  them  an 
a  class,  a  book  that  came  out  there  was  a  rehash  in  the  book 
about  the  causes  of  crime  unchanged  since  the  Wickersham  report 
was  written.  He  rather  suspected  that  the  Wickersham  report 
said  all  there  was  to  say  about  it  or  that  had  been  thought  out. 
That's  all  I  have  to  say,  ending  on  that  sort  of  a  note. 

JRH:   You  have  nothing  else?  You  mentioned  something  about  the  KKK. 


HOLSTRCM:   I  know  nothing  about  Vollmer  and  the  KKK.  There  is  an  inci 
dent  about  World  War  I  involving  the  IWW.  It  stood  for  "I 
Won't  V.'ork!"  I  don't  know  what  the  story  was,  but  there  was 
a  trek  to  Washington.  Part  of  it  originated  in  Qneryville 
where  a  group  of  these  people,  (I  suppose  today  we  would  call 
them  radicals,  I  don't  know  what  they  called  them  then), 
gathered  at  the  racetrack  in  Qneryville  and  they  were  going  to 
go  to  Washington  and  I  have  a  very  diir  recollection  that  this 
was  a  big  event  in  Vollmer's  professional  career,  but  I  cannot 
tell  you,  I  don't  know,  what  the  circumstances  were.  Some  of 
these  older  men  that  you're  going  to  interview,  Gordon  or  Wilson 
may  know. 

I  really  don't  have  anything  else.  I  have  a  number  of  papers 
here  and,  as  you  know,  they're  listed  in  that  supplement. 

There  is  one  other  thing  I  should  say,  though,  and  this  is  on 
the  subject  of  Vollmer  utilizing  professional  assistance  very 
early  and  I'm  not  sure  whether  it  was  a  first  or  not.  Along 
about  1931  when  I  cane  into  the  department  there  was  a  police 
department  psychiatrist,  and  this  has  been  a  very  slow  development 
in  the  country.  An  old  friend  of  Vollmer's  whose  name  was 
Hubert  F.owell,  an  M.D. ,  was  the  psychiatrist  when  I  got  there. 
He's  had  a  number  of  successors  and  I  think  it  had  some  influence 
on  Berkeley  and  Los  Angeles  in  later  years.  The  successor  to 
Dr.  Rowell  was  a  very  extraordinary  man,  the  late  Dr.  Douglas 
Kelley,  who  was  a  member  of  the  faculty  in  the  1950 's  and  then 
his  successor  was  a  David  Wilson.  These  men  were  all  medical 
doctors,  all  psychiatrists,  all  certified  or  diplomates.  David 
Wilson  was  also  a  faculty  member.  These  men  were  used  for  two 
purposes.  Hot  to  be  psychiatrist  for  policemen,  as  a  matter  of 
fact  I  prohibited  it.  They  were  used  for  screening  applicants 
for  the  police  department.  And  how  successful  was  it?  We 
thought  it  was  so  successful  that  it  persisted  for  a  period  at 
least  from  1930  to  1971.  That's  a  fair  period  of  time.  There 
was  an  early  one  referred  to  in  Parker's  book,  whose  name  was 
Ball,  and  I  can't  recall  the  unusual  combination  of  first  names 
he  had. 

The  second  purpose  they  were  used  for,  and  this  was  particularly 
true  of  Kelley  because  he  had  an  ability  in  this  direction  was 
to  advise  a  policeman  faced  with  a  practical  problem.  The  police 
man  in  the  field  is  the  man  who  has  the  problem.  Something 
occurs  and  the  policeman  sometimes  has  to  make  a  decision  — 
How  emotionally  disturbed  is  this  person?  Whether  he's  commlted 
a  crime  or  not,  at  least  he's  come  to  police  attention.   If  he's 
commited  a  crime,  then  a  choice  has  to  be  made  by  this  uniformed 
patrolman  (this  is  why  you  need  intelligent  people  to  be  police 
men).  Do  you  take  this  nan  the  criminal  Justice  route,  do  you 


KOLDTFC?::   lock  hir  up,  do  you  prosecute  Mr,  or  do  you,  through  an 

orrangerent  with  the  Alameda  County  facilities,  take  him  to 
the  County  Hospital?  Or  if  the  family  can  cfford  it,  do  you 
see  to  it  that  he  goes  the  private  psychiatric  route?  This 
happens  all  the  time,  it's  happening  this  week  in  Berkeley. 
It  certainly  is  happening  In  the  drug  scene  that  we  see  here 
now.  So  these  departmental  psychiatrists  have  "been  useful  to  us. 

How  close  was  the  relationship  then?  Close  enough  that  at  one 
stage  in  the  1950 's  at  Dr.  Kelley's  invitation  I  appeared  on 
the  programs  of  two  conferences  of  the  American  Psychiatric 
Association,  not  because  I  was  a  psychiatrist,  because  I  wasn't. 
I  was  a  layman,  but  because  I  had  some  Insight  as  a  layman 
into  the  potential  value  of  psychiatry  applied  to,  and  I  prefer 
this  phrase,  the  administration  of  Justice.   I  use  the  word 
Justice  In  its  very  broadest  and  most  proper  sense.  Justice  to 
the  individual  and  Justice  to  the  community. 

JRH:   That's  interesting  because  I  get  these  practical  decision-making 
problems  in  my  work  too.   It's  a  very  difficult  situation. 

KOLSTPOM:   Very  difficult  to  find  a  psychiatrist  who's  willing  to  serve  at 
wages  or  salaries  that  can  be  paid  by  a  city  or  a  county  and  who 
is  interested  and  who  can  communicate  with  policemen;  because 
not  all  psychiatrists  are  easy  to  communicate  with  and  perhaps 
not  all  policemen. 

JF.H:  Having  worked  in  them  I  know  that  County  Hospitals  do  have  a 
terrible  tir.e  getting  competent  psychiatric  people.  The  big 
problems  come  from  poor  working  conditions  and  low  salaries. 

HOLSTPOM:   Extremely  difficult!   I  know  a  number  of  psychiatrists  and 
have  had  a  lot  of  exposure  to  them.   I've  found  a  few  that 
I  can  connunicate  with,  and  fewer  than  that  that  I  have  any 
confidence  in,  but  I  know  some.   I'm  not  one  of  those  people 
that  think  all  psychiatrist  are  peculiar.   I  have  great  respect 
for  them  if  they  are  effective.  That  is  if  they  can  do  some 
good  for  their  patients. 

JRH:   The  only  thing  you  didn't  mention  but  you  said  you  were  thinking 
of  mentioning,  and  that  was  you  associated  with  Vollmer  up  to 
the  time  that  he  died.   I  don't  know  if  you  want  to  talk  about 

HOLSTFc     You've  asked  me  whether  I  wanted  to  talk  about  Vollmer 's  death 
and  I  don't  see  why  not.   I  know  about  it.  He  was  79  when  he 
died  and  I  had  seen  him  frequently.  There  were  three  other 
people  who  I  know  of  who  are  familiar  with  the  events  that  led 
up  to  it.  One  of  their  is  Dr.  George  Oulton,  a  dentist,  whose 
name  you  have  in  the  summary.  The  other  was  the  late  Captain 


HOLSTROM:   Walter  Johnson,  whose  widow  is  still  alive  and  whose  name 
you  do  not  have.  They  were  close  friends.  We  were  aware, 
because  he  told  us  separately,  that  he  knew  in  his  very 
late  years  that  he  had  cancer,  at  least  cancer  of  the  throat. 
He  knew  and  it  was  obvious  even  to  a  layman  that  he  had 
Parkinson's  Disease  and  had  developed  a  tremor  of  the  hands. 
There  is  another  man  who  knows  about  this  but  he  nay  be  pro 
hibited  by  professional  ethics  about  talking  about  it  —  you'd 
have  to  ask  him.  His  name  is  Dr.  William  Marsh,  who's  still 
in  practice.  Probably  one  of  my  contemporaries,  if  not  a 
little  younger,  who  was  told  also. 

Vollner  told  each  of  us.  He  said  that  he  would  never  becojre  a 
bed  patient ,  a  person  who  would  be  helpless  and  a  concern  to 
other  people.  Why  he  said  this,  I  don't  know.   I  know  that  he 
was  a  man  that  had  a  great  deal  of  pride.  He  had  a  great  deal 
of  pride  in  his  athletic  ability,  in  his  appearance,  in  his 
mental  and  physical  competence;  but  I  don't  know  what  his  true 
motivation  was.  That's  all  he  said  to  me  at  least.  He  didn't 
ever  intend  to  be  a  bed  patient.   I've  been  trying  to  remember 
what  the  circumstances  were  and  I  don't  exactly,  but  among  the 
four  of  us,  we  thought  he  probably  would  suicide  based  on  what 
he  said  about  never  becoming  a  bed  patient.  When  he  said 
something  you  could  depend  upon  it  and  he  usually  meant  it. 

JFH :   How  longwas  he ... 

HOLSTROM:   How  long  was  he  aware  that  he  had  cancer  and  Parkinson's  Disease? 
JRH:   Yes. 

HOLSTF.OM:   I  don't  know,  a  year  or  so,  but  it  wasn't  bad.  And  so  in  some 
fashion,  I  was  then  the  Police  Chief  and  I  don't  think  I  did  it 
personally,  his  revolver  was  removed  from  his  study  and  moved 
up  to  my  desk  drawer.   I  had  it  for  a  matter  of  a  good  many 
days,  maybe  a  few  weeks.  One  morning  the  phone  rang  and  he 
said,  'John,  you  have  my  revolver"  and  I  said,  "Yes  Sir."  "I 
would  appreciate  it  if  you'd  return  it;  it's  mine."  I  said, 
''I'll  bring  it  up  myself1  and  I  did  and  without  comment  handed 
it  to  him  and  all  he  said  was,  "Thank  you." 

Within  a  matter  of  weeks  as  she  later  told  the  story,  he  helped 
his  long-time  housekeeper  make  the  beds  and  went  down  to  his 
study,  stepped  out  in  the  hall  at  the  foot  of  the  stairs  and 
said  to  her,  'You'd  better  call  the  police''  and  he  shot  himself. 
That  was  that.  He  was  dead  upon  arrival  at  the  hospital.   T  was 
immediately  aware  before  ever  the  ambulance  got  there  and  said 
to  then  Captain  Fording,  ''I'm  not  surprised.1'  He  said,  'I'm 
not  either.' 


JIOLSTF      We  anticipated  it  and  I  suppose  there  are  a  couple  of  subse 
quent  comments:  this  highly  distressed  some  of  vy  Catholic 
friends  who  knew  him  because  it  is  contrary  to  some  Catholic 
teaching  to  take  your  own  life.  The  fact  that  he  villed  his 
body  to  the  Medical  Center  of  the  University  of  California 
in  San  Francisco  distressed  some  more  people.  The  fact  that 
there  was  no  funeral  highly  distressed  some  of  our  mutual 
friends  who  were  Chinese and  totally  unable  to  understand  why 
there  was  no  funeral. 

JKII:   Was  he  buried  or  cremated  or... 

HOLSTTOM:   His  body  went  to  the  Medical  Center.   I  didn't  go  over  to  see 
what  they  did  with  it.  There  was  no  memorial  service.  Then 
I  remembered  that  I  didn't  ever  know  of  his  ever  attending  a 
funeral  and  I  never  thought  to  ask  him  why.  But  he  had  no 
funeral.  J'y  Chinese  friends  and  his  were  upset. 

The  final  part  of  this  was  he  had  totally  prepared  for  this.   I 
told  you  about  giving  his  books  to  the  police  department.  V.'e 
had  made  arrangements  so  he  would  retain  custody  while  he  lived. 
His  papers  and  documents  had  already  been  delivered  to  Bancroft 
Library  because  he  had  enough  academic  appreciation  to  know  that 
that  was  the  best  place  to  put  them  if  they  had  any  interest  to 

Another  thing  happened  which  I  suppose  only  a  policeman  would 
think  of,  but  we  had  done  it  before  and  it's  been  done  since. 
Invariably  if  we  thought  any  of  our  people  upon  death  had  files 
which  might  have  any  information  about  individuals,  personal 
intimate  information,  we'd  always  inspect  them.  The  years  I 
had  any  authority  down  there  and  since,  it  was  one  of  our  first 
roves  to  get  hold  of  a  witness  and  get  permission  to  review 
those  files.   I  personally  reviewed  Vollirer's  files.  They  had 
been  corpletely  cleared.  He  had  lots  of  correspondence  with 
people  and  a  world-wide  correspondence  continued  to  influence 
the  field  particularly  young  men  with  whom  he  was  associated. 
Those  files  were  clear. 

JF.H:   You  mean  he  didn't  have  anything  confidential  or... 

i:GLSlF:OM:   He  removed  then  before  I  got  there.  This  has  happened  in  ti  c 
case  of  other  people  too,  people  I  knew  had  extensive  files. 
At  least  it  was  some  consolation  to  me  as  a  self-appointed 
searcher  to  know  that  no  one  was  going  to  be  hurt  personally 
by  any  loose  papers  kicking  around.  He  had  prepared  for  this. 
He  had  spent  months  getting  things  in  order. 


liOLSTR  .   Gince,  as  I've  told  you,  I've  tried,  not  very  successfully, 

to  have  a  fev  students,  in  the  limited  time  available  do  some 
term  papers  about  the  history  of  the  department.  None  of  them 
are  very  good.  At  least  they're  on  paper  and  the  department 
has  them.  You  have  a  list  of  them. 

JRH:   There's  Just  one  thing  briefly,  because  of  my  own  background. 
I  noticed  that  he  was  a  Unitarian .  Ify  parents  are  Unitarian. 
I  was  curious  whether  he  was  active  in  the  church?  And  did 
that  influence  his  thinking? 

IIGLOli-J!':   I  know  nothing  about  this. 

JRH:   Because  it  would  be  in  line... 

HOLSTRC";   I  didn't  even  know  he  was  a  Unitarian  until  I  happened  to  look 
at  the  ''Who's  Who1'  excerpt  that  you  have  accompaning  the  Tupple- 

JT!K:   So  he  wasn't  particularly  a  church-going  man. 
HOLSTROM:   I  don't  know. 

JRH:   You  Just  don't  know,  because  it  wouldn't  be  that,  it  would  be 
much  nearer  to  a  Unitarians'  philosophy  the  way  he  ended  his 

HOLSTRO!!:   I  knov  nothing  about  his  religion .  All  I  know  is  he  was  a 
of  very  high  principle.   I'm  not  sure  that  that's  very  far  away 
from  religion.  That's  about  all  I  can  tell  you,  Miss  Howard. 


That's  good  enough,  we'll  stop  it  now. 

INDEX    John  D.  Holstrom 

Alaraeda,  29,  33,  & 
Anchorage,  Alaska,  28 
Austero,  Vivencio,  28 

Berkeley,  City  of,  17,  19,  26,  '32,  33,  3** 
City  Clerk,  3 
City  Manager,  29,  33 
City  Marshal,  6,  l6 
Hall  of  Justice,  7,  15 

Police  Department,  1,  2-5,  9,  11,  l6,  19,  2U,  25-26,  38,  33, 
Police,  Press  Corps,  20-21 

Press  Officer,  21 
Record  Department ,  2U 
Regulations,  25 

Police  Transportation,  30 
Berkeley  Police  Story.  The,  16 
Black,  Jack, W 
Block,  Ernest,  7 

Elks'  Club,  33 

England ,  9 

Eureka,  City  of,  29 

Feng,  Yukon,  9 
Fresno,  13-11* 
Fry,  Amelia,  2 

Gain,  Charles,  19 

Germany,  9 

Gordon,  Walter,  5,  18 

Greening,  John  A.,  11,  lU,  15,  21,  28,  29 

Japan ,  28 

Kansas  City,  28 
Kelley,  Dr.  Douglas,  9 
Kirk,  Paul,  30 
Klamath  Falls,  29 
Knowland,  Joseph  R. ,  20 

Lindquist,  John,  28 

McLaren,  Roy,  29 
Manteca,  City  of,  29 

Marsh,  William,  39 

Mathesen,  Duncan,  12 

Medford,  Oregon,  29 

Mexican-American  community,  8 

Military  Occupation  Forces,  Germany,  30 

National  Bureau  of  Identification,  31* 

Negro  community,  8 


Berkeley  Gazette,  6,  20,  21 

Oakland  Post  Inquirer,  21 

Oakland  Tribune.  20,  21 

^•n  Francisco  Chronicle,  21 

San  Francisco  Examiner.  21 

Oakland,  City  of,  17,  18 

Police  Department,  19,  2U,  33 

Prohibition,  32 

Prostitution,  32 
Oulton,  Dr.  George,  6,  38 

Parker,  Alfred  E. ,  3,  10,  16,  17,  22 

Parker,  Bill,  32 

Peace  Officers'  Association,  35 

Police  procedures,  21,  2U-27 

Police  of  the  20th  Century.  The,  22 

President's  Commission  on  Lav  Enforcement  and  the  Administration 

of  Justice,  36 
Proceedings  of  the  1922  Conference  of  LACOP  in  San  Francisco,  3,  31* 

Quinn,  Bill,  11 

Regional  Parks,  5 
Richardson,  Friend,  6 
Ross,  City  of,  29 
Rowell,  Hubert,  37 

Sacramento,  City  of,  12,  31* 
San  Francisco,  City  of,  18,  19 

Chinese  community,  9 

Chief  of  Police,  11 

Police  Department,  11-13,  2U 

Robbery  Detail,  13 
San  Francisco  Exposition,  1915,  11 
San  Francisco  Fair  of  1939,  11 
San  Jose  State  College 

School  of  Police  Administration,  31 
San  Quentin,  23-21* 
San  Rafael,  City  of,  28 
Santa  Barbara,  City  of,  29 
Schmidt,  Willard,  31 

Seattle,  City  of,  29 

Sickler,  Lt.  Britton  W. ,  29 

Smith,  Bruce  Sr. ,  29 

Smith,  Vern,  33 

Spanish-American  War,     16 

Spenger,  Frank  Sr. ,     17 

Sproul ,  Robert  Gordon ,     30 

State  Police  Officers  Conference,     13 

Sutherland ,     2U 

Swartz,   Herman,     33 

Taiwan,  9 

Tennessee,  State  of,  17 
Third  Degree,  2U-25 
Thompson,  Hollis,  33 
Trenton  State  College,  31 

Unitarian  Church,  Ul 

United  States  of  America,  The,  31* 
Treasury  Department,  29 
Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation,  3^* 

University  of  California,  The,  1,  10,  17,  18,  19 
Bancroft  Library,  12,  1*0 
Political  Science  Department,  1,  9 
School  of  Criminology,  1,  9,  18,  19,  28,  30 
Police  Administration,  U 
School  of  Social  Welfare,  7 
Institute  of  Governmental  Studies,  28 
Medical  Center,  San  Francisco,  UO 

University  of  Chicago,  The,  10,  25 

Vernon,  Wyman,  33 

Vollmer ,  August ,  Memorial  Scholarship  Fund ,  36 

Vollmer  Peak,  5 

Walnut  Creek,  City  of,  28 

Warren,  Earl,  31,  32-33,  31* 

Webb,  Jack,  9 

Whaley,  Lt.  Henry  F. ,  29 

What's  Wrong  vith  Cops?,  7 

Wheeler  [Benjamin  Ide]  Award,  33 

Who's  Who.  2 

Wickersham  Report,  25,  36 

Wilson,  David,  37 

Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,  8,  26,  28,  29-30,  33 

Woods,  Inspector  A.S.J.,  28 

You  Can't  Win,  2k 
Young,  Richard,  29 


Orlando  W.  Wilson,  born  1900,  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part 
of  a  series  on  the  personal  and  professional  life  of  August  Vollmer. 
Mr.  Wilson,  former  Dean  of  the  School  of  Criminology  at  the  University  of 
California,  Berkeley,  and  protege  of  August  Vollmer,  brings  the  perspective 
of  a  long  and  distinguished  career  in  law  enforcement  to  the  interview. 


Time  and  Setting 
of  the  Interview: 


Narrative  Account 
of  Mr.  Wilson  and 
the  Progress  of 
the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

Two  interviews  were  conducted  with  Mr.  Wilson  on  July  2, 
1971,  in  his  modern  ranch  house  in  Poway,  California,  a 
small  town  about  60  miles  outside  of  San  Diego.  The 
first  interview,  conducted  with  Mr.  Wilson  alone,  began 
around  11  a.m.  and  concluded  at  approximately  12  noon. 
The  second,  with  co- interviewer  John  Holstrom,  a 
professional  colleague  of  Vollmer  and  Wilson  and  advisor 
to  the  project,  ran  from  about  12:30  p.m.  to  1  p.m. 

Editing  of  the  transcribed  taped  interviews  was  done  by 
Jane  Howard.  Changes  were  very  minimal  on  both  tapes. 
Mr.  Wilson  reviewed  and  made  only  e  few  minor  spelling 
and  punctuation  changes  on  both  interviews. 
Mr.  Holstrom  also  reviewed  the  Joint  tape;  he  made  a  few 
minor  editorial  changes. 

O.W.  Wilson,  born  in  1900,  received  a  B.A.  degree  from  the 
University  of  California  at  Berkeley  in  192k.   He  served 
as  a  "college  cop"  part-time  from  1921  and  Joined  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  fulltime  on  graduation  from 
Berkeley.  After  four  years  under  Vollmer,  he  went  on  to 
become  Police  Chief  of  Fullerton,  and  then  Wichita, 
Kansas,  both  on  Vollmer 's  recommendation. 

Wilson  returned  to  Berkeley  in  1939  as  a  professor  of 
police  administration  at  the  School  of  Criminology  and 
remained  there,  with  time  out  for  service  in  the  army 
during  World  War  II,  until  I960.  He  served  as  Dean  of 
the  School  of  Criminology  from  1950-60. 

In  I960  he  went  to  Chicago,  at  Mayor  Daley's  request,  and 
was  very  successful  in  reforming  the  Chicago  Police 
Department.   He  also  did  intermittent  police  consulting 
from  19^8-67,  conducting  many  police  surveys  throughout 
the  country. 


Orlando  W.  Wilson  (contd.) 

Mr.  Wilson  has  lived  in  Povay,  California,  since  bis 
retirement  in 

The  first  tape  follows  the  questionnaire  outline  quite 
closely;  Mr.  Wilson  had  prepared  notes  in  advance  in 
response  to  the  questions.  Additional  questions  were, 
however,  raised  during  the  interview. 

Mr.  Wilson  reviews  his  reasons  for  Joining  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department  and  his  rapid  rise  to  the  position, 
Chief  of  the  Wichita,  Kansas  Police  Department.  He 
discusses  the  "crab  meetings,"  Vollmer's  weekly  staff 
sessions,  and  other  training  provided  to  the  Berkeley 
staff.  Wilson  states  that  he  felt  Mr.  Vollmer's  out 
standing  characteristics  were  administrative  and  leader 
ship  ability,  racial  tolerance  and  openness  to  all  ex 
periences,  good  and  bad. 

The  interview  turns  to  consider  the  relationship  between 
Wilson  and  Vollmer.  Wilson  says  he  always  felt  he  was 
a  student  of  Vollmer's,  and  that  he  received  excellent 
advice  over  the  years,  by  mail  and  in  person,  from 
Vollmer  . 

Mr.  Wilson  tells  anecdotes:  about  a  visit  to  a  burlesque 
house,  about  Mr.  Vollmer's  interest  in  the  criminal 
world  and  psychiatry.  He  mentions  Vollmer's  first  wife 
briefly.  Mr.  Wilson  discusses  Vollmer's  honesty  and 

Mr.  Wilson  considers  Vollmer's  influence  in  the  state, 
particularly  in  establishing  the  Bureau  of  Criminal 
Identification  and  Investigation  and  the  Department  of 

The  interviewer  raises  questions  to  Mr.  Wilson  on 
Earl  Warren's  relation  to  Vollmer,  the  Klu  Klux  JQan  and 
J.  Edgar  Hoover;  Mr.  Wilson  had  limited  knowledge  about 
these  connections.  The  discussion  touches  on  Vollmer's 
second  wife. 

The  second  interview,  with  Mr.  Holstrom  as  co-interviewer, 
is  brief.  Mr.  Holstrom  raises  a  number  of  questions 
to  Mr.  Wilson.  He  asks  how  Mr.  Wilson  came  to  Join  the 
police  department  ,  and  about  whether  problems  were  created 
by  using  college  students  as  policemen.  Mr.  Holstrom 
asks  Mr.  Wilson  whether  he  felt  his  book,  Police 
Administration  ,  was  his  own  thinking  or  Vollmer's. 

Wilson:  This  is  Orlando  W.  Wilson,  July  2nd  1971  at  Poway,  California, 
reporting  on  ay  relationship  with  August  Vollmer. 

I  came  to  know  August  Vollmer  first  when  I  took  an  examina 
tion  for  a  Job  as  patrolman  in  the  Berkeley  Department.  This 
was  in  the  early  spring  of  1921.  Vollmer  had  inserted  an 
advertisement  in  the  Daily  Cal.  the  University  newspaper, 
urging  college  students  who  were  interested,  to  make  appli 
cation  for  position  of  patrolman  in  his  Department.  I  took 
the  examination  and  in  May  1921  was  appointed  patrolman. 

JRH:  I'm  curious  to  ask  you  why  you  took  this  examination  because 
I  guess  it  was  so  unusual  in  those  days  for  college  students 
to  become  policemen.  Why  did  you  respond  to  the  ad  or  what 
attracted  you  to  doing  it? 

Wilson:  It  was  an  intelligence  test  and  the  University  had  adminis 
tered  an  intelligence  test  to  the  freshmen  class  and  apparently 
I  came  out  of  this  test  with  good  marks  so  I  decided  this 
would  be  an  easy  way  to  get  a  Job. 

JRH:  You  didn't  have  your  career  planned  before  this? 

Wilson:   Oh  no,  not  at  all  nor  did  I  have  it  set  after  having  worked 
in  the  Berkeley  Department  for  four  years.  But,  my  experi 
ences  as  a  novice  policeman  were  interesting  to  me,  probably 
to  no  one  else  and  I  worked  with  Vollmer  and  became  well 
acquainted  with  him  because  of  his  friendly  relationships 
with  his  employees.  Not  only  did  I  become  well  acquainted 
with  Vollmer,  but  also  his  wife  Millicent ,  whome  we  all  knew 
as  Pat.  The  years  I  spent  in  the  Berkeley  Department,  a 
total  of  about  four,  were  not  uneventful  for  me  but  of  no 
great  concern. 

Following  my  graduation,  Vollmer,  who  was  eager  to  get 
college  trained  men  into  police  service,  suggested  that  I 
should  apply  for  the  Job  of  Chief  of  Police  at  Fullerton. 

Wilson:     This  I  did  and  I  believe  in  April  1925  1  was  appointed  Chief 
there.     This  lasted  no  more  than  12  months.     He  then,  through 
his  acquaintanceship  with  Lee  Phillips,  a  high  executive  or 
perhaps  President  of  Pacific  Finance  Corporation,   got  me  a 
Job  as  an  investigator  with  this  organization  and  I  continued 
this  until  the  City  Manager  of  Wichita,  Kansas,  called  Chief 
Vollmer  and  said  he  needed  someone  to  serve  as  Chief  of  Police 
and  asked  Vollmer  if  he  could  recommend  someone.      Vollmer 
recommended  me  and  I  had  some  letter  correspondence  with  this 
City  Manager  but  this  was  too  slov  for  the  City  Manager  because 
he  wanted  someone  right  new  and  finally  called  Vollmer  and 
explained  the  situation.     Vollmer  called  me  and  said,  "Do  you 
want  that  Job  or  don't  you?"     I  told  hiia  yes  I  did.     I  felt 
that  I  should  look  the  situation  over  before  I  accepted  and 
determine  if  the  conditions  of  employment  were  to  my  liking. 
I  went  to  Wichita  and  before  I  left,  was  appointed  Chief  of 
Police  of  that  city.     Rather  young  for  a  city  of  that  size, 
I  had  not  yet  turned  28,  but  I  conferred  with  Vollmer  on 
vacation  trips  that  I  would  take  and  I  corresponded  with  him 

JRH:     You  mean  while  you  were  in  Fullerton  or  at  Wichita? 

Wilson:     Both,  but  particularly  Wichita.     He  advised  me  and  he  was  a 
prolific  letter  writer  and  would  write   two  and  three  page 
letters   in  response  to  questions  that  I  asked.      I  got  a  great 
deal  of  helpful  advice  from  him. 

(Turning  his  attention  to  the  questionnaire,  in  response  to 
question  #1.)     First,  you  may  wonder  what  impact  he  had  on 
my  personal  and  professional  life.     I  must  say  he  had  a 
great  impact.     On  my  personal  life,  as  an  impressionable 
youth,   I  was  influenced  by  the  philosophy  of  this  great  man. 
As  I  have  mentioned,  he  did  succeed  in  getting  me  the  Wichita 
Job  and  then  later  as  his  replacement  as  Professor  of  Police 
Administration  at  the  University  of  California  in  1939, 
after  I  had  spent  eleven  years  at  Wichita. 

JHH:      I  wanted  to  ask  you  as  part  of  questions  one  and  two,  do  you 
remember  the   first  time  you  met  him? 

Wilson:     Yes,   clearly.     He  was  an  imposing  figure,  proud  of  his  attire. 
He  dressed  almost  immaculately.     I  don't  mean  that  he  was 
foppish  in  his  attire  but  he  was  always  well  dressed.     He 
never  would  smoke  in  his  office  because  to  do  so  might  offend 
some  woman  or  some  person  who  was  allergic  to  tobacco  smoke. 

Wilson:  Ke  would  work  at  his  desk  and  naybe  at  the  end  of  an  hour, 
get  up  and  go  to  the  Squad  Room  and  smoke  one  of  these 
small  cigarillos.  This  is  one  evidence  of  the  regard  he 
had  for  other  people. 

He  held  what  he  called  "crab  meetings"  every  Friday  after 
noon  and  some  of  these  were  extrer.ely  interesting.   Ke  had 
a  detective,  Gus  Mehrtens,  who  was  a  graduate  chemist  and 
apparently  a  very  capable  detective  and  a  small  man  in  terms 
of  the  height  one  usually  finds  associated  with  policemen. 
Vollmer  would  try  to  get  into  these  crab  meetings,  ex-convicts, 
narcotic  addicts  or  anyone  that  he  felt  would  be  helpful  to 
the  men  to  see  and  to  discuss  the  problems,  crime  problems, 
and  the  life  of  the  individual.   On  one  occasion,  a  man  came 
along  who  was  a  phrenologist  and  maintained  that  he  could, 
by  feeling  the  bumps  on  a  man's  head,  tell  his  character. 
Chief  Vollner  set  the  stage  for  this  phrenologist  by  getting 
Cus  Mehrtens  dressed  up  in  old  dungarees  and  an  old  sweatshirt 
and  he  locked  him  up  in  the  cell.   When  the  phrenologist 
came  and  gave  his  little  talk  on  phrenology,  the  Chief  asked 
him  if  he  would  like  a  subject  to  work  on  Just  as  an  example 
and  he  said  yes  and  Vollmer  said,  "Well  we  have  a  fellow  that 
interests  me,  but  he's  locked  up  in  one  of  the  cells."  Ke 
ordered  the  Turnkey  to  let  this  fellow  out  and  Mehrtens  came 
in.  Of  course,  all  of  us  were  informed  of  this  play  so  we 
wouldn't  give  it  away.  The  phrenologist  sat  Mehrtens  down  in 
a  chair  and  felt  his  bumps.   Incidentally,  he  was  Just  about 
completely  bald  so  he  was  a  perfect  subject.   Ke  then  told 
why  this  man  was  a  confirmed  criminal.  That  he  would  never 
be  a  useful  citizen  and  Just  painted  the  most  pessimistic 
picture  with  the  diagnosis  of  the  bumps  on  Kehrtens'  head. 
We  often  laughed  over  this  incident,  but  this  is  an  example 
of  some  of  the  things  Vollmer  would  do. 

He  would  take  students  and  some  of  his  policemen  to  mental 
institutions  in  the  summertime,  students  who  were  enrolled 
in  some  course  during  the  summer  session  at  the  University, 
and  they'd  bring  out  various  patients  and  the  doctor  there 
would  explain  the  nature  of  what  the  difficulty  was  so  that 
we  got  acquainted  with  various  types  of  mental  illness. 
Vollmer  always  urged  his  policemen  to  enroll  at  the  Univer 
sity  and  study. 

(Response  to  question  #2. )  This  brings  us  up  to  the  question 
of  what  kind  of  a  man  Vollmer  was.  I  guess  I  could  best  des 
cribe  him  as  being  primarily  an  executive,  a  leader  of  men. 

Wilson:  He  had  the  ability  to  win  the  confidence  of  not  only  his 

subordinates  but  all  people  he  dealt  with.  He  inspired  in 
his  subordinates  a  loyalty  not  only  to  him  as  a  leader  but 
to  the  organization  and  to  the  ideals  of  police  service. 
He  had  courage.   I  can  recall  that  he  would  always  keep  in 
the  top  drawer  of  his  desk  his  service  gun  and  anytime  he 
left  headquarters,  he  would  slip  this  in  his  pocket.  He 
was  an  excellent  shot  and  was  able  to  stand  a  playing  card 
on  edge  and  at  ten  paces,  split  it  with  a  bullet,  which  is 
considerable  shooting. 

We  had  a  prisoner  who  escaped  in  some  way;  I've  forgotten 
the  details.   Vollmer  and  others  at  headquarters  immediately 
ran  out  after  him  and  this  prisoner  sought  refuge  in  the 
coal  yard.  As  they  were  trying  to  apprehend  him  he  picked 
up  pieces  of  coal  and  threw  at  the  people.  While  I  was  not 
there,  I  was  told  that  Vollmer  shot  a  piece  of  coal  out  of 
the  prisoner's  hand  but  not  before  he  had  hit  Vollmer  on  the 
side  of  the  face  with  a  lump  of  coal. 

I  learned  something  of  his  philosophy  of  life.  He  felt  that 
life  is  nothing  but  experience  and  that  whether  it  be  good  or 
bad,  whether  exemplary  or  filled  with  mistakes,  Vollmer  always 
typified  it  as  being  experience  and  in  consequence,  all  for 
the  good.  He  had  a  rule,  never  to  say  anything  bad  about  a 
man.   I  heard  him  once  say  that  if  you  can't  say  something 
good  about  a  man,  don't  say  anything.  When  he  held  a  seminar 
at  the  University  and  lecture  classes  as  well,  he  gave  up 
smoking  because  it  caused  him  to  cough  and  he  felt  that  was 
unfair  to  his  students.  He  adopted  the  practice  in  his  semi 
nar  of  going  out  for  coffee  at  the  end  of  the  seminar,  I  guess 
about  10  o'clock.   The  students  would  ask  him  to  tell  stories 
and  he  was  an  excellent  raconteur.  He  could  keep  them  spell 
bound  with  stories  of  cases  that  he  had  worked  on  and  of  the 
lives  of  criminals  he  had  known. 

He  was  racially  unprejudiced.  Walter  Gordon,  one  of  Berkeley's 
football  greats,  was  a  patrolman  at  this  time  in  Berkeley  and 
Vollmer  made  this  appointment  because  he  recognized  the  fine 
qualities  of  Walter  Gordon.  There  were  in  those  days,  no 
social  pressures  to  appoint  minority  groups  to  police  forces 
as  there  have  been  in  more  recent  years.  He  worked  closely 
with  Gordon  and  I  hope  you  can  get  Walter  Gordon  to  talk  about 

JRH:  Bancroft  Library  is  supposed  to  interview  him.   I'm  interested 
in  two  things.  First,  Chief  Holstrom  mentioned  that  Vollmer 
sometimes  had  boxing  matches . 

Wilson:  I'm  not  aware  of  that.  However  he  did  have  a  yawara  or  Judo 
expert  who  trained  members  of  the  department.   I  think  this 
was  done  principally  in  the  high  school  gym,  not  at  police 

JRH:  Apparently  he  was  a  very  athletic  man.  Did  he  encourage 

athletics?  I  get  the  impression  more  from  Parker  than  from 
Holstrom  that  this  had  something  to  do  with  the  fact  that  he 
was  proud  of  his  appearance  and  very  athletic.  Did  that 
seem  so,  or  do  you  recall  anything  in  relation  to  that  kind 
of  activity? 

Wilson:  Not  in  relation  to  his  athletic  activities  that  I  am  person 
ally  aware  of,  although  I  did  know  that  he  was  a  great 
swimmer  and  I  think  he  played  handball  with  Chief  Dullea  of 
San  Francisco  but  I  never  saw  any  of  his  athletic  activities. 

JRH:  So  it  wasn't  something  that  dominated,  something  that  was 

Wilson:  No. 

JRH:      I'm  also  curious  about  the  question  of  the  impact  he  had  on 
your  personal  life.      In  that  time  when  you  were  working  in 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department,  I  want  to  get  a  sense  of  how 
he  encouraged  you  because  you  weren't  really  set  on  a  career 
in  police  work  at  all  when  you  started  working  for  the  Depart 
ment.      Can  you  give  me  a  better  idea  of  how  he  influenced 
you  to  stay  in  that  work?     Did  you  meet  with  him  socially  a 
lot?     Did  you  meet  with  him  in  his  office  a  lot?     How  did  he 
get  you  into  it? 

Wilson:      Neither.      I  would  drive  Chief  Vollmer  and  his  wife  Pat  because 
he  didn't  drive  a  car  himself. 

JRH:     How  come? 

Wilson:  Never  learned  to  drive  and  he  had  no  desire  to  drive.   I  would 
drive  them  to  places  and  I  got  a  chance  to  visit  with  them, 
they  would  sit  in  the  back  seat.  Until  later,  when  I  returned 
to  Berkeley  as  a  professor,  I  had  no  social  life  with  him  as 
such  nor  can  I  recall  going  into  his  office  and  sitting  in  a 
chair.  The  contacts  and  relationships  were  more  related  to 
activities  in  the  normal  routine  day  of  work. 

JRH:  At  what  point  do  you  think  you  were  committed  to  staying  in 
police  work? 

Wilson:  After  I  got  to  Wichita  and  not  beforel 

JRH:  One  thing  Gene  Carte  was  particularly  interested  in  asking 
you  about  was  that  he  has  been  reading  some  of  the  corres 
pondence  in  Bancroft  Library,  they  have  a  lot  of  his  personal 
papers,  between  Vollmer  and  you,  when  he  was  urging  you  to 
go  on  to  Harvard.  One  of  the  letters  said  that  the  future 
of  policing  is  in  having  educated  police  and  that  you  should 
really  take  this  kind  of  academic  post.  He  was  interested  in 
knowing  a  little  bit  about  whether  these  letters  between  you 
and  him  had  a  lot  of  influence  on  your  decision  to  continue 
on  with  police  work  and  go  on  to  Harvard.  Was  this  relation 
ship  with  Vollmer  quite  important  to  you  in  staying  in  the 
field  or  encouraging  you  to  go  on  to  a  higher  position? 

Wilson:  Oh  yes,  certainly  it  was.  Anytime  I  was  up  against  a  decision 
such  as  should  I  go  to  Harvard,  I  would  write  him  and  he  would 
advise  me,  as  he  did,  to  go.   I  had  my  year  at  Harvard  but  it 
wasn't  really  on  the  faculty,  it  was  the  Bureau  for  Street 
Traffic  Research,  then  under  Miller  McClintock  who  I  think 
later  went  to  Germany  and  assisted  Adolph  Hitler  in  the  con 
struction  of  the  Autobahn. 

JRH:  You  mentioned  that  when  you  went  to  Wichita  you  wrote  him  on 
how  to  handle  police  problems. 

Wilson:  Yes.  Anytime  I  was  confronted  with  a  problem  I'd  write  him 
a  letter.  Administration  by  correspondence  they'd  call  it. 

JRH:   I  take  it  he  gave  you  very  thorough  and  thoughtful  kinds  of 

Wilson:  Oh  yes,  two  and  three  page  letters. 

JRH:  Did  you  work  with  Vollmer  and  Leonard  to  some  extent?  What 
was  the  relationship  between  you? 

Wilson:  I  was  never  closely  associated  with  V.A.  Leonard.  He  was 
Identification  Officer  in  the  San  Diego  Department  after 
Chief  Vollmer  had  made  a  survey  and  re-organization  of  that 
department.  He  returned  to  Berkeley  I  think  about  the  last 
year  of  my  service  there.  As  I  recall,  he  served  as  Identifi 
cation  Officer  there  so  I  didn't  have  close  contact  with  him. 

JRH:  So  mostly  he  was  somewhat  close  to  Vollmer  but  independently 
and  not  so  much  with  you.  Was  it  that  Vollmer  was  about  20 
years  older  than  you?  He  was  born  in  1876. 

Wilson:      I  was  born  in  1900,  so  he  was  2k  years  my  senior. 

JRH:     By  the  time  you  came  back  to  Berkeley  you  were  certainly  an 
authority  in  the  field  in  your  own  right  and  I  was  wondering 
if  you  always  continued  to  consider  yourself  sort  of  a  student 
of  Vollmer's  or  whether  you  considered  yourself  more  of  his 
peer  as  time  went  on? 

Wilson:      I  never  reached  that  point.     Upon  my  return  to  the  University 
I  was  guided  by  him  in  the  preparation  of  lectures.     When  I 
wrote  police  records  and  later  on  and  more  significantly 
police  administration,  Vollner  was  a  tremendous  assistance 
to  me  in  the  preparation  of  this  text.      I  would  discuss  with 
him  at  great  length  some  of  the  problems  that  had  to  be  dealt 
with  in  this  book  so  the  book,  in  a  very  real  sense,  is  a 
reflection  of  August  Vollmer's  thinking. 

(Response  to  question  #3.)     Now  as  to  anecdotes  and  stories, 
Chief  Vollmer  loved  fun,   I  found  in  later  years,  although  I 
had  heard  some  stories  about  his  pranks  —  I  guess  that  isn't 
quite  the  right  term  —  as  a  younger  man.    When  he  was  re 
organizing  the  Kanaas  City  department  in  the  early  30' s,  I 
was   at  Wichita  and  on  a  couple  of  occasions  drove  to  Kansas 
City  and  visited  with  him.     I  can  recall  that  on  one  occasion 
he  and  Pat  took  me  to  the  12th  Street  Burlesque  which  was  a 
very  famous  burlesque  theater.     We  all  enjoyed  this  experience 
a  great  deal.     This  is  the  kind  of  thing  he  would  do.      Later, 
when  he  worked  on  the  Wickersham  Commission  Report  in  Chicago 
and  was  then  on  the  staff  of  the  University  of  Chicago,  I 
visited  him  there  from  Wichita  and  I  can  recall  he  and  his 
wife  and  myself  going  out  in  the  evening  on  the  train  and  he 
would  point  out  certain  well  dressed  men  in  derbies ,  white 
silk  scarves,  velvet  collars  on  blue  topcoats  and  wearing 
gray  spats,  that  here  was   a  gangster!      I  expect  he  was  right. 

JRH:      Is  it  true  that  he  had  a  fascination  with  criminal  elements 
and  that  he  was  very  effective  in  dealing  with  crime,  but 
that  he  also  in  a  way  was  interested  in  it? 

Wilson:      I  should  have  mentioned  that  as  a  small  boy  he  was  in  New 
Orleans  living  with  his  then  widowed  mother  when  the 
Superintendent  of  Police  of  New  Orleans  was  assasinated  by 
the  Black  Hand.     Shortly  after  that  he  and  his  mother  came 
by  train  to  Berkeley  and  on  the  train  with  them  was  the 
widow  of  the  assasinated  superintendent,  so  I   feel  certain 
that  this  must  have  had  a  strong  impact  on  him.      I  can  re 
call  his  mother's  home  on  Milvia  Street  and  he  lived  there 
with  her,  I  think  up  until  the  time  that  he  married  Pat, 
his  wife,  that  I  knew  so  well. 






How  old  was  he  when  he  married,  do  you  remember? 

It  was  his  second  marriage.  That  would  have  been  about  1925 
because  I  recall  as  a  patrolman  picking  them  up  and  driving 
them  places. 

So  he  was  almost  55  when  he  remarried? 

Close  to  50  I'd  say. 

I  heard  he  married  briefly  earlier. 

Yes.      To  a  concert  singer.     She  was  apparently  more  interested 
in  the  stage  and  concert  work  than  she  was   in  Vollmer  and 
they  separated. 

Do  you  know  how  long  he  was  married  to  her?     Or  when? 

No  I  don't.     But  I  think  rather  briefly, 
nor  did  he  have  any  with  Pat. 

They  had  no  children 

After  I  Joined  the  faculty  at  the  University  I  can  recall  his 
telling  that  he  and  Captain  Kidd,  who  was  the  criminal  law 
professor  at  Boalt  Hall  and  Dr.   Don  Juan  Ball,  a  psychiatrist, 
went  with  their  wives  on  a  camping  trip  in  the  Redwoods  and 
he  was  laughing  about  some  of  their  experiences.     He  said 
they'd  pick  out  a  tree  that  seemed  a  little  abnormal  and 
decide  that  that  was  a  schizophrenic  tree  and  go  on  to 
another  which  would  be  paranoic,  etc. 

He  was  very  interested  in  psychiatric  problems? 

Yes  he  was  and  had  psychiatric  examinations   for  applicants  to 
the  department,  when  I  was  appointed  at  least.      You  mentioned 
his  association  with  criminals.      I  can  recall  his  telling  me 
about  how  he  would  keep  in  his  desk  drawer  at  headquarters 
a  bottle  of  whiskey  and  when  they  had  some  old  drunk  who  had 
sobered  up  the  night  before  and  were  about  to  release  him 
without  running  him  through  court ,  Vollner  would  bring  him 
into  his  office  and  pour  him  a  good  stiff  drink  before  turning 
him  out. 


Was  he  a  social  man;  it  sounds  like  he  was. 

Did  he  like 

Wilson:     Yes,   and  he  liked  parties  and  he  told  me  on  occasion  that  he 
had  never  gambled  because  his  mother,   for  some  reason,  was 
opposed  to  gambling  and  his  mother  apparently  played  some 
influence  on  his  life  because  he  vent  on  to  say  that  anytime 
he  would  call  on  his  mother  she'd  get  out  the  liquor  bottle 
and  they  would  sit  there  visiting  and  drinking. 

I  also  recall  his  telling  about  his  experiences  at  the  time 
of  the  San  Francisco  fire  and  earthquake  when  hundreds   and 
hundreds  of  refugees  came  to  Berkeley  and  he  had  the  respon 
sibility  of  maintaining  order. 

JRH:  It  was  right  after  he  became  Chief. 

Wilson:  Yes,  it  was  1906  I  believe. 

JRH:  He  was  Town  Marshal  in  1905- 

Wilson:  I  thought  it  was  earlier  than  that. 

JRH:  Let  me  check.      It  was  1903  when  he  became  Town  Marshal. 

Wilson:  When  did  he  become  Chief  of  Police? 

JRH:      1909  and  I  remember  why  because  it  had  to  do  with  passing  the 
charter  amendment  but  he  was  essentially  Chief  from  1905  on. 

Wilson:      (Response  to  question 

The  question  is  asked  what  was 

Vollmer's  professional  impact?     I  wrote  a  forward  for  Al 
Parker's  book  on  the  Berkeley  Police  Story  and  I'm  simply 
going  to  read  from  it  as  I  think  this  states  it  much  better 
than  I  could  say. 

JRH:  Actually  though,  what  we're  interested  in  is  what's  not  been 
recorded  somewhere  so  if  that's  the  introduction  you  used  in 
the  book  we  wouldn't  really  need  to  put  it  in. 

Wilson:      No,  I'd  Just  read  a  page  and  a  half  of  it. 

JRH:     We  don't  need  that  particularly  but  what  we  want  is  what 

people  have  in  their  heads  and  we're  hoping  that  someone  may 
want  to  do  a  doctoral  thesis  or  a  master's  thesis  on  Vollmer. 
They  would  have  access  to  written  material  but  we  want  to 
have  tapes  of  what  people  have  said  about  Vollmer. 

Wilson:     Well,  then  we'll  Just  skip  item  U. 


JRH:     Chief  Holstrom  and  I  didn't  go  into  that  too  much  either, 
because   it  doesn't  have  too  much  to  do  with  what  the  man 
vas  like,  except  in  a  sense  a  man's  principles  have  to  do 
with  what  kind  of  a  man  you  are.      For  instance,  Holstrom 
and  I  talked  a  lot  about  the  sense  of  honesty  people  got 
from  him  or  a  sense  of  integrity  and  in  that  sense  we'd  be 
interested  in  knowing  some  of  the  principles  that  he  stood 

Wilson:     He  certainly  stood  for  complete  honesty  and  I  think  this 

perhaps  was  one  of  the  reasons  he  got  along  with  the  press 
so  well.     He  was  completely  frank  with  them  and  if  anything 
occurred,  he'd  bring  them  into  his  office  and  tell  them  about 
it  rather  than  having  them  dig  it  out  and  getting  it  in  a 
slanted  way.     I  can  recall,  as  a  matter  of  fact  while  a 
patrolman. .  .no,  I  guess  it  was  while  I  was  at  Fuller-ton,    I 
went  with  him  to  the  San  Francisco  Department  for  some  reason. 
He  introduced  me  to  a  man  there  and  he  said,   "O.W.,   if  you 
took  this  man  completely  apart,  you  wouldn't  be  able  to  find 
a  crooked  bone  in  his  body  —  he's  that  honest."     I  was  never 
sure  then  or  since  then  whether  he  didn't  make  this  statement 
with  his  tongue  in  cheek. 

JRH:     What  do  you  think  made  him  that  way?     Why  do  you  think  he 
developed  to  be  a  man  with  such  high  ideals? 

Wilson:      I  don't  know.      I've  never  met  his  mother  but  he  lived  with 
her  from  the  time  they  arrived  from  New  Orleans  until  his 
first  marriage  whenever  that  was,  and  I  think  after  his 
separation.      I  am  confident  that  she  was  an  influence  to  him 
and  may  have  instilled  in  him  concepts  of  honesty  such  as 
the  one  he  did  mention  that  he  had  never  gambled  in  his  life 
and  I'm  sure  his  mother  influenced  him  to  this   determination. 
I  presume  she  left  other  ideals  implanted  in  his  mind  as  well. 

JRH:  This  reminds  me.  You  mentioned  that  his  mother  was  opposed 
to  gambling.  In  his  biography  they  had  in  Who's  Who  in  the 
West,  that  he  listed  himself  as  a  Unitarian.  That  religion 
wouldn't  usually  exclude  gambling,  but  do  you  know  anything 
about  his  religious  background  or  do  you  know  if  his  mother 
was  a  Unitarian? 

Wilson:      I  have  no  idea.      I  also  had  no  idea  that  Chief  Vollmer  had 

ever  declared  that  he  was  a  Unitarian.     As  a  matter  of  fact, 

I  had  thought  that  he  probably  had  never  set  foot  in  a  church 
in  his  life. 


JRH:     Well,  that's  the  least  religious  church,  so  maybe  that's  why 
he  listed  it.     And  maybe  his  mother's  position  on  gambling 
was  related  to  being  a  Baptist  or  something  like  that.     Did 
you  know  his  mother? 

Wilson:      No  I  didn't. 

(Response  to  question  HI.)       Vollraer  vas  influential  and  in 
volved  in  some  State  events  that  had  a  strong  impact  on  the 
development  of  the  law  enforcement  agencies  in  California. 
Particularly  in  the  enactment  of  legislation  to  authorize 
the  establishment  of  the  Bureau  of  Identification  as  it  was 
originally  called  and  the  title  later  may  have  been  the 
Bureau  of  Identification  and  Investigation.      Vollmer  played 
an  important  role  in  the  development  of  this  Bureau  and 
again,  as  he  did  with  so  many  people,  he  advised  the  head  of 
the  Bureau,  I  think  a  man  named  Clarence  Merrill,   on  the 
development  of  this  new  agency  and  this   relationship  con 
tinued  after  Clarence  Merrill  passed  away  and  his  son  was 
appointed  to  replace  him  as  head  of  the  Bureau. 

JRH:     We  understand  this  was   a  new  idea  and  we  were  wondering  how 
he  got  it  accomplished?     Was  he  a  charming  man  and  how  did 
he  do  it?     Who  did  he  talk  to  or  influence? 

Wilson:      I  have  no  idea.      I  could  only  conjecture  that  he  must  have 

talked  to  legislators,  but  whether  he  went  to  Sacramento  for 
this  or  whether  they  may  have  called  in  his  office,  I  don't 

JRH:      Do  you  know  of  other  things  that  he  got  accomplished? 

Wilson:      I  think  he  played  a  part  in  the  development  in  the  Department 
of  Corrections.     He  was  very  much  concerned  with  penology  as 
such:      correctional  institutions,  and  the  state  prisons  gene 
rally.     He  seemed  to  hold  some  hope   for  the  rehabilitation  of 
the  inmates  in  much  larger  proportions  than  I  was  ever  con 
vinced  of  myself.      In  those  years,   after  he  retired  as  Chief, 
and  I'm  sure  this  occurred  while  he  was  Chief,  be  would  have 
police  officials  and  correctional  officials  call  at  his  home 
and  discuss  problems  much  as  I  did  in  correspondence  while  at 
Wichita.      I  can  recall  a  group  from  the  Los  Angeles  Police 
Department  coming  to  Berkeley  in  a  Marmon  automobile.      I'm 
not  sure  of  the  date  but  they  came  to  discuss  problems  with 
him  and  I'm  sure  he  advised  them  on  what  they  should  do.     He 
reorganized  the  Los  Angeles  Department  in  I  think  1922  or 
thereabouts  and  he  had  a  close  working  relationship  with 
whoever  was  Chief  and  the  men  he  worked  so  closely  with  in  the 
course  of  this  reorganization. 


JRU:     We  were  interested  in  his  relationship  with  Earl  Warren  both 
when  Warren  was  Assistant  D.A.   and  then  when  he  became  Attor 
ney  General  and  Governor  and  the  Bancroft  Library  is  also 
interested  in  this  because  they're  doing  a  history  of  Warren. 

Wilson:      I  can  recall  my  first  sight  of  Earl  Warren.     He  vas  the 

Assistant  D.A.   assigned  to  Berkeley  and  worked  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Headquarters. 

JRH:     He  became  Assistant  D.A.    in  1923.     Was  that  where  he  was 

assigned  for  the  two  years,  the  whole  time  was  Assistant  D.A.? 

Wilson:      I  don't  know  how  long,  but  about  that  time  he  was  an  imposing 
looking  youngish  man  and  he'd  stand  with  his  thumbs   in  his 
vest  sleeves  and  had  a  gold  chain  across  his  vest.     He  wore 
blue  clothes.     He  was  interested  in  the  success  of  the  Berke 
ley  Department  in  dealing  with  their  criminal  cases.     Then  he 
became  D.A.   of  Alameda  County  and  it  seems  to  me  that  he 
served  there  eight  years. 

JRH:     1925  to  1938  —  7  years. 

Wilson:      Then  he  became  Attorney  General  and  then  Governor  and  then 
Chief  Justice.     We'll  skip  that  because  it's  an  unhappy  re 
collection  that  I  have  of  the  last  days  of  Earl  Warren.     It 
makes  me  unhappy  everytime  I  think  about  them. 

JRH:     When  Warren  was  still  D.A.    in  Alameda,   from  what  Bancroft 

Library  has   learned,  there  was  a  difference  in  attitude  bet 
ween  Vbllmer  and  Warren  on  enforcement  of  prohibition.      Do 
you  know  anything  about  that? 

Wilson:     Prohibition  went  out  about  that  time  about  1933  and  he  became 
District  Attorney  in  1925.     I  could  believe  that  there  were 
differences  and  I  don't  know  Earl  Warren's  views  on  prohibi 
tion  but  I  think  Vollmer  was  opposed  to  it.     He  felt  that  this 
was  doing  a  great  damage  to  law  enforcement ,  as  in  fact  it  was , 
and  it  created  a  situation  where  police  could  be  corrupted. 
As  I  say,  I  am  not  aware  of  Earl  Warren's  attitude  toward 

JRH:     Had  you  heard  Vollmer  at  any  time  talk  about  the  Ku  Klux  Klan 
since  they  were  still  active  in  the  mid-20 's? 

Wilson:      Ho,  I  have  no  recollection  of  this  but  knowing  his  complete 
lack  of  prejudice  I  am  confident  that  he  would  be  opposed  to 
the  principles  of  the  Ku  Klux  Klan. 


JRH:      Another  thing  he  worked  with  Warren  on  was  when  there  was 
gambling  and  an  off-track  betting  scandal  later  on  when 
Warren  was  Governor,  like  about  19*»2.     Warren  had  a  Crime 
Commission  in  19^8  against  gambling  and  off-track  betting. 
Do  you  know  if  Vollmer  was  at  all   involved  in  that  Commission? 

Wilson:  He  would  have  been  retired  from  the  University  nine  years  by 
then  which  meant  that  he  was  getting  on  in  years.  I  have  no 
recollection  of  this  Commission. 

JRH:     Do  you  know  any  more  about  when  Warren  was  Governor?     We're 
curious  about  the  relationship  between  the  two  and  generally 
did  they  become   friends  when  Warren  became  D.A.   and  if  they 
continued  to  work  together  and  in  what  ways. 

Wilson:      I  simply  don't  have  any  first  hand  information  at  all  nor  any 

JRH:      You  Just  don't  know  much  about  how  Warren  and  Vollmer  were 

Wilson:      No. 

JRH:      One  other  historical  event.     There  was  a  general  strike  in 
193U  and  do  you  know  about  Vollmer 's  involvement  with  that? 

Wilson:     That  was  the  waterfront  strike.      I  don't  recall  his  activities 
there  at  all. 

JRH:     Apparently  Vollmer  was  on  good  terms  with  Bill  Knowland.     Do 
you  know  about  this?     Chief  Holstrora  told  me  that  the  Oakland 
Tribune  did  have  a  reporter  stationed  at  Berkeley  P.O.     Do 
you  think  that  was  due  to  Vollmer' s  initiative? 

Wilson:      Vollmer  would  certainly  have  no  protest  but  I'm  sure  the  Know- 
land  family,  being  aggressive  Journalists,  would  have  initiated 
this,  putting  the  reporters  where  there  was  news.     There  was 
news  at  Berkeley  and  readily  accessible  because  of  Vollmer' 8 
complete   frankness  in  dealing  with  the  reporters. 

JRH:      I  suspect  that  was  very  helpful  in  his  gaining  such  a  wide 
spread  reputation  because  of  his  attitude  toward  the  press. 

Wilson:     Yes,  I'm  sure  it  was. 

JRH:     Apparently  he  influenced  Hoover's  attitudes  toward  setting 
up  the  FBI.      Do  you  know  anything  about  this? 


Wilson:   Not  a  thing. 

JRH:  One  other  historical  thing  that  ties  in  a  little  bit  with 
your  discussion  of  the  schizophrenic  trees.  Apparently  in 
1925  a  number  of  influential  people  established  a  social 
welfare  league  in  Berkeley  and  Vollmer  was  one  of  the  people 
involved  in  that.  They  handled,  in  a  more  social  work  way, 
the  problems  of  the  community.  Do  you  know  anything  about 
that,  if  he  stayed  in  that? 

Wilson:  I'm  sure  he  was  interested  in  it,  but  he  did  have  a  police 
woman,  one  of  the  early  policewomen,  Polly  was  her  first  name, 
she  married  Gus  Mehrtens  and  after  Gus  Merhtens1  death  she 
continued  on  as  the  policewoman  and  whether  she's  still  alive 
I  don't  know  because  she'd  be  a  very  elderly  person  by  now. 
Vollmer  was  a  humanitarian  and  was  interested  in  social  wel 
fare,  was  interested  in  parole  and  was  interested  in  the 
welfare  of  prisoners  in  the  correctional  institutions. 

One  thing  he  was  always  trying  to  do  was  to  get  his  subordi 
nates  to  write.  To  write  and  publish  in  Journals  and  some 
in  books.  John  Larson  was  a  policeman  at  that  time  and  he 
later  became  a  psychiatrist,  but  he  developed  the  lie  detector 
and  he  did  this  with  Vollmer 's  strong  support  and  worked  with 
some  of  the  people  at  the  University  where  he  then  was  a 
student  and  wrote  a  book  on  the  lie  detector.  Then  later, 
and  I'm  sure  it  was  at  Vollmer 's  instigation,  he  developed 
a  system  of  single  fingerprint  classifications  and  wrote  a 
book  on  this.  So  here  were  two  books  in  the  field  that 
Vollmer  got  a  subordinate  to  write.  He  would  urge  individual 
members  of  the  department  to  write  something.  He'd  say,  "Why 
don't  you  write  an  article  and  have  it  published  in  such  and 
such  a  Journal."  He  was  constantly  urging,  apparently  aware 
of  the  need  for  literature  in  the  police  field  and  concerned 
likewise  with  publication  and  it  was  because  of  this  that  he 
became  acquainted  with  Charles  C.  Thomas,  a  publisher  in 
Springfield,  Illinois.  Thomas  was  out  after  I  was  appointed 
Professor  and  we  had  several  visits  with  Thomas  and  his  wife 
and  then  later  with  Thomas'  son,  Payne  Thomas.  Because  of 
Vollmer 's  urging  the  Thomas' ,  who  up  till  this  point  had 
specialized  in  medical  literature,  broadened  their  field  of 
interest  and  started  publishing  in  the  police  field.  V.A. 
Leonard  has  had  maybe  a  dozen  books  published  by  them.  They 
are  also  publishing  this  new  book  by  A.  Parker.  Here,  for 
example,  are  books  that  V.A.  Leonard  has  written. 


JRH:     So  Leonard  was  greatly  influenced  by  Vollmer  in  that  respect? 
Wilson:     Oh,  yes. 

JRH:      He  became  a  Professor  of  Police  Administration  at  Washington 
State.     He  was  a  patrolman  to  start? 

Wilson:     He  was  an  Identification  Officer  but  whether  he  came  in  as  a 
patrolman  I  don't  know.     We  had  as  the  Identification  Officer 
a  man  named  C.D.   Lee  and  I  think  Lee  trained  Leonard  and 
Leonard  then  went  to  San  Diego  as  Identification  Officer 
then  came  back  about  192b  or  so. 

(Response  to  question  #1 . )     On  the  seventh  point  I  can  only 
say  that  he  was  invariably  friendly  to  all  his   friends , 
helpful  to  his  employees  and  was  always  prepared  to  give  a 
great  deal  of  his  time  to  advising  colleagues. 

JRH:     What  about  his  enemies?     He  must  have  made  some. 
Wilson:      I'm  sure  he  did,  but  he  never  talked  about  them. 

JRH:      It  would  be  hard  to  make  so  many  innovations  without  making 
some  enemies  of  people.     You  don't  know  too  much  about  the 
people  he  may  have  aggravated? 

Wilson:     No. 

JRH:     What  about  his  wife?     What  sort  of  a  woman  was  she? 

Wilson:      A  charming  woman.     He  made  a  survey  of  the  police  in  Cuba  at 
one  time  and  Pat  was  with  him.     She  had  short  hair  like  they 
wore  it  in  those  days  and  her  hair  was  gray  but  she  was  an 
extremely  attractive  person  and  personality  and  she  enjoyed 
the  things  that  Vollmer  enjoyed.     They  would  go  out  in  the 
evenings   for  dinner  somewhere  and  in  those  later  days  I  had 
the  privilege  of  being  with  them  on  some  of  these  occasions. 

(Response  to  question  #8.)     In  addition  to  V.A.   Leonard,  there 
was  a  man  named  Gabrielson  who,  the  last  I  heard,  was  a  Sheriff 
in  the  northern  part  of  the  State.     When  Vollmer  reorganized 
the  Honolulu  Department  he  arranged  for  Gabrielson  to  be 
named  Chief,   and  Gabrielson  served  there  a  number  of  years 
until  he   finally  left  and  returned  to  the  mainland.      Another 
one  is  Wiltberger,  William  A.     The  last  I  heard  of  Wiltberger 
he  was  living  in  retirement  in  New  Mexico  but  Vollmer  played 
an  important  role  in  the  lives  of  all  three  of  these  men. 
V.A.   Leonard  is  still  alive  and  I  don't  know  whether  Wiltberger 
and  Gabrielson  are  still  alive  or  not.     Walter  Gordon  and  Bill 
Dean  also. 


INDEX  --  O.W.  Wilson 

Ball,  Juan,  1 
Berkeley,  City  of 

Police  Department,  1,  5,  13 

social  welfare  league,  Ik 

town  marshal ,  9 
Black  Hand,  7 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  11 

Crime  Commission,  13 

Department  of  Corrections,  11 
Cuban  police  survey,  15 

Dean,  William,  15 

Dullea,  Chief  Charles  W. ,  5 

Fullerton,  1,  10 

Gabrielson,  William  A.,  15 
gambling,  10-11 
Gordon,  Walter,  U,  15 
Harvard  University 

Bureau  for  Street  Traffic  Research,  6 
Holstrom,  John,  5,  10 
Honolulu  Police  Department,  15 

Kansas  City,  Kansas,  7 
Kidd,  Captain,  8 
Knovland,  William,  13 
Ku  KLux  KLan,  12 

Larson,  John,  lU 

Lee,  C.D.,  15 

Leonard,  V.A. ,  6,  lU-15 

lie  detector,  lU 

Los  Angeles  Police  Department,  11 

McClintock,  Miller,  6 

Mehrtens,  Gus  ,  3,  I1* 
Mehrtens,  Polly,  lU 
Morrow,  Clarence,  11 

New  Orleans ,  La . ,  7 


Oakland  Tribune.  13 

Pacific  Finance  Corporation,  2 
Parker,  Alfred  E. ,  9,  I1* 
Phillips,  Lee,  2 
Prohibition,  12 
psychiatry,  8 

San  Diego  Police  Department,  6,  15 

San  Francisco  fire,  9 

San  Francisco  Police  Department,  10 

Thomas,  Charles  C.,  lU 
Thomas,  Payne,  lU 

Unitarian,  10 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley,  U,  7,  8 

Bancroft  Library,  6,  12 

Daily  Cal.  1 

Police  Administration,  2 
University  of  Chicago,  7 

Vollmer,  Millicent  "Pat",  1,  7,  15 

Warren,  Earl,  12 
Washington  State  College,  15 
Who's  Who  in  the  West,  10 
Wichita,  Kansas,  2,  7,  11 
Wicker sham  Commission  Report,  7 

yawara  (judo),  5 


San  Francisco  Chronicle  -^  ... 

Thursday,   October   19,    1972       01*131100  W. 



Daily  Californian 
Thursday,  October  19,  1972 

.  - 



O.W.WILSON  in  1960 
Died  Yesterday 

CrJminologist  Dead  at  72 

Orlando  W.  Wilson,  former 
dean  of  the  School  of  Criminology 
here  who  achieved  national  fame 
as  Chicago  police  commissioner, 
died  yesterday  at  the  age  of  72. 

Wilson  worked  his  way  through 
school  here  as  a  part-time  Berkeley 
policeman,  then  went  on  to  be 
come  police  chief  in  Fullcrion  and 
Wichita,  Kans.  In  1939  he  returned 
to  the  University  as  professor  of 
police  administration  in  the  Politi 
cal  Science  Department,  and  in 
1950  was  named  dean  of  the  new  ly- 
formcd  School  of  Criminology. 

While  teaching  here,  Wilson 
served  as  special  consultant  in  the 
reorgani/afion  of  thirteen  police 
departments,  including  (hose  of 
San  Juan.  Puerto  Kico.  and  l.i.uis- 
ville.  Kj.  Irurn  1943  to  1947  he 
was  a  colonel  of  militari  police  in 

,  (from  front  page) 

ances  front  Mayor  Kichard  Daley 
of  a  free  hand  and  a  salary  more 
th»n  twice  that  he  received  as  dean 
heri .  Wilson  accepted. 

The  School  of  Criminology  was 
at  that  lime  undergoing  one  of  its 
neriodic  threats  of  being  rcor- 
pim/cd  out  of  existence. 

Under  Wilson's  rule,  the  Chi 
cago  Police  Dcpt.  was  partially  put 

Germany  and  Italy. 

Wilson  held  only  a  bachelor's  de 
gree  while  serving  as  a  professor 
and  dean  here,  but  later  received 
two  honorary  doctorates. 

In  I960.  Wilson  was  called  to 
Chicago  to  head  a  special  "blue  rib 
bon"  commission  seeking  a  new 
head  of  the  Chicago  Police  Depart 
ment.  The  commission  was  ap 
pointed  in  the  wake  of  a  scandal 
implicating  over  a  score  of  police 
officers  in  a  burglary  ring  which 
among  other  things  used  police 
cars  to  transport  stolen  goods. 

After  examining  53  candidates 
for  police  commissioner,  the  other 
members  of  the  commission  asked 
\\iKon  to  step  down  so  that  he 
himself  might  he  considered  for 
the  posi.  After  receiving  avsur- 

f.»«V  />«*' 

under  the  civil  service  merit  sys 
tem.  and  both  open  theft  and  some 
of  the  more  blatant  aspects  of 
political  patronage  in  the  depart 
ment  were  curbed. 

There  was,  however,  no  notice 
able  decrease  in  either  police  bru- 
lalit)  or  "justifiable  homicides" 
committed  by  police  officers  —  • 
category  in  which  C  hicago  con 
tinued  to  hold  the  national  record. 

Wilson  Dies 

Poivay.  San  Dirso  County 

Orlando  \V.  Wilson,  who 

gained    a    world    reputa 

tion    in    criminology    be 

fore  cleaning  up  the  Chi 

cago  police  force  after  a 

burglary  scandal,  cw-d  of  a 

stroke  yesterday.  He  was 

•  72. 

Wilson,  a  former  dean  of 
the  School  of  Criminology  at 
the  University  of  California 
at  Berkeley,  was  appointed 
Chicago's  police  comissioner 
in  1960.  He  retired  in  1967. 

Earlier,  h  e  lectured 
throughout  the  United  States 
and  Europe  and  reorganized 
police  departments  at  San 
Antonio;  Texas;  San  Juan, 
Puerto  Rico;  Louisville  Ky., 
and  other  cities. 

He  was  appointed  dean  at 
Berkeley  in  1939  after  earn 
ing  his  undergraduate  de 
gree  there  in  1924  and  a  doc 
torate  at  Carthage  College 
in  Illinois,  later  receiving  an 
honorary  doctor's  degree  at 
Northwestern  University. 

During  World  War  II  he 
served  as  an  Army  colonel 
and  on  the  staff  of  General 
Lucius  in  Berlin. 

Wilson  was  hired  to  clean 
up  Chicago's  scandal-rid 
den  police  force  and  was 
given  a  free  hand  to  do  it  by 
Mayor  Richard  J.  Daley. 

The  department  had  been 
rocked  in  1960  when  eight 
policemen  were  convicted  of 
comitting  a  string  of  burgla 
ries  with  the  aid  of  a  profes 
sional  burglar. 

The  soft  -  spoken,  slender, 
wrinkle  -  faced,  scholarly 
Wilson  methodically  set  to 
work  restoring  the  tattered 
police  image. 

He  applied  theories  of  cen 
tralization  and  effective  su 
pervision,  took  men  off  the 
beat  and  put  them  into  po 
lice  cars  that  flashed  blue 
instead  of  red  lights,  added 
a  canine  force,  modernized 
the  crime  laboratory,  in 
creased  promotions  and 
boosted  salaries. 

He  applied  computer  tech 
nology  to  police  statistics,  , 
criminal  identification  and 
crime  records.  He  made 
Chicago's  communications 
network  the  envy  of  the 
world's  police  forces  and  a 
model  to  be  studied. 


Hoi strom: 
Wilson : 





I'm  Jane  Hovard,  vith  Chief  Holstrom  and  Dean  Wilson  who  are  going 
to  chat  together.   I  guess  Chief  Holstrom  is  going  to  ask  Dean 

Wilson  some  questions  about  his  early  career. 
June  in  Mr.  Wilson's  home  in  Poway. 

It's  the  second  of 

How  did  you  happen  to  become  a  Berkeley  policeman? 

I  vas  a  student  at  the  University  of  California,  a  sophomore,  and 
I  decided  that  I  should  support  myself.  My  father  had  given  me 
a  fairly  liberal  allowance  at  the  time,  but  he  had  some  reverses, 
and  I  decided  that  it  vas  high  time  that  I  should  be  on  my  own. 

There  was  a  slight  recession  in  1921,  was  there  not? 

I  think  so.  But  Vollmer  advertised  in  the  Daily  Cal  for  college 
students  who  were  interested  in  police  service  and  stated  that 
an  intelligence  test  would  be  used  in  the  selection  of  applicants. 
So  I  decided  to  take  a  fling  at  this  and  took  the  examination. 
I've  forgotten  now  who  administered  the  Army  Alpha,  which  was  the 
one  we  had,  but  I  was  selected  and  went  to  work  in  May  1921. 

You  left  school  then? 

Oh,  no,  I  continued  until  I  graduated, 
usually  the  second  shift. 

I  worked  the  night  duty, 

Isn't  it  so  that  Vollmer  was  interested  in  attempting  to  improve 
the  quality  of  people  in  his  own  department  and  in  the  police 
service  generally?  One  of  his  ideas  was  to  attract  college 
students  and  even  when  I  was  in  college,  in  the  late  1920' s,  I 
read  a  good  deal  about  the  college  cops,  who  he  encouraged  to  go 
to  school  and  be  policemen  at  the  same  time.  They  were  such 
people  as  you,  Ed  Maeshner,  Ralph  Proctor,  Walter  Gordon,  who 
went  through  law  school;  and  Bill  Dean. 

Isn't  it  also  a  fact  that  the  man  who  was  really  the  operations 
officer  in  the  police  department  was  Jack  Greening,  who  later 
became  the  Police  Chief.  The  program  really  did  not  delight  the 
Captain  because  he  had  some  difficulty  in  getting  those  college 
cops  to  work  overtime  because  they  were  supposed  to  be  going  to 
school.   I  believe  that  there  was  a  period  when  Captain  Greening 
was  not  very  enthusiastic  about  policemen  who  went  to  school  and 
worked  as  policemen  at  the  same  time,  so  when  he  became  Chief  he 
changed  policies  slightly.   Isn't  this  so? 

This  is  true,  but  I  don't  know  that  it  was  because  of  the  lack  of 
availability  of  these  men  for  overtime.  My  recollection  is  that 
this  didn't  interfere  one  iota  with  the  overtime  that  they  imposed 
on  those  college  students  who  were  working  in  the  department. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  following  the  Berkeley  fire  in  1923,  and 
while  Vollmer  was  in  Los  Angeles,  we  worked  16-hour  tours  of  duty. 

Wilson:  That  year  I  flunked  out  of  the  University  as  a  consequence  of 
no  tine  for  studies  at  all,  so  I  graduated  in  1925  instead  of 

Hoist rom:   I  have  heard  a  story  that  one  of  your  colleagues,  Walter  Gordon, 
solved  his  problem  by  reading  his  lav  books  under  a  street  light 
while  on  duty  down  on  San  Pablo  Avenue.   I  don't  know  how  directly 
this  was  connected  with  Vollner,  but  he  must  have  tolerated  it. 

Wilson:  I  never  heard  this  in  reference  to  Walter  Gordon,  but  I  know 
it's  true  in  the  case  of  John  Larson.  John  would  regularly 
park  his  car  and  study  his  books.   Doc  Rooney  would  go  out  in 
his  car  with  a  blanket  at  night  and  snatch  a  few  winks  of  sleep 
and  carried  an  alarm  clock.  He'd  set  the  clock  for  the  time 
when  he  was  supposed  to  make  a  pull  on  the  call  box  but  I  don't 
know  whether  Vollmer  knew  anything  about  this  or  not,  and  I  rather 
doubt  it,  and  I'm  not  at  all  sure  he  would  tolerate  it. 

JBH:  How  many  college  cops  were  there,  say,  when  you  went  in? 
Wilson:  There  must  have  been  a  dozen  out  of  a  force  of  28  or  30. 

JRH:  He  was  very  successful  in  recruiting  college  kids.  That  was 
quite  an  unusual  ratio? 

Holstrom:  Not  only  quite  unusual;  this  was  unique  in  the  United  States  of 

JRH:  How  long  had  he  done  it?  Were  you  in  one  of  the  first  classes  of 
college  cops? 

Wilson:   I  think  a  year  or  two  before  because  Walt  Gordon  came  on  a  year  or 
two  before  I  did. 

Holstrom:   I  think  Walter  came  in  1919. 

Wilson:  This  was  about  the  start  of  it  because  it  was  the  end  of  the 

First  World  War  and  the  Army  Alpha  grew  out  of  the  Army  and  this 
was  the  testing  procedure  he  used  and  I  think  it  was  about  that 
time  when  he  started  recruiting  college  men  for  service  as 

Holstrom:  I've  referred  in  my  tape  to  the  long  utilization  of  psychiatrists 
by  Vollmer  which  was  an  extraordinary  thing  to  do.  Do  you  happen 
to  know  who  the  departmental  psychiatrist  was  in  the  early  1920' s? 

Wilson:  Dr.  Rowell. 
Holstrom:  He  was  a  successor  to  a  Dr.  Ball.  Did  you  know  him? 

Wilson:  Ball  came  later.  Because  Ball  did  not  examine  me  and  Rowell  did. 

Holstrom:  Dr.  Rowell  was  still  the  departmental  psyciatrist  as  late  as  the 
early  19^0' s  so  he  and  Vollmer  were  very  close  friends. 

Hoi strom: 



Hoi strom: 


Hoi strom: 

Wilson : 
Hoi strom: 

Well,  he  may  not  have  used  Ball  as  a  department  psychiatrist, 
but  they  were  friends. 

I  didn't  realize  that  Dr.  Rowell's  connection  with  the  depart 
ment  went  back  that  far.  I'd  like  to  ask  you  about  a  different 
kind  of  subject  unless  something  occurs  to  you. 

Do  you  remember  when  you  and  other  young  college  students  were 
recruited  to  be  police  officers  if  there  was  community  reaction 
against  it?  I  suspect  there  might  have  been. 

I  was  never  aware  of  it  or  heard  of  it. 

They  didn't  say,  "What  on  earth  are  they  recruiting  college  men 

Quite  the  contrary.  The  press  was  favorable  to  this  because  it 
was  unique  and  it  was  a  story*  so  I  think  the  townspeople  accepted 
it  completely. 

By  the  1920' s,  regardless  of  what  may  have  happened  way  back  in 
1905,  wouldn't  you  say  that  Vollmer  was  in  a  very  strong  and 
respected  position  in  the  community  with  the  townspeople  and 
that  this  prevailed  even  down  to  my  era  when  the  department  and 
I  bene fitted  from  the  things  that  this  man  had  done  and  the 
international  reputation  he  and  the  department  had.  There  was 
a  carryover  that  I  am  positive  is  still  going  on  in  1971. 

He  was  President  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of 
Police  in  1921-22.  The  conference  was  held  here  in  San  Francisco 
and  Dr.  John  Larson  with  his  lie  detector  put  on  a  demonstration 
for  the  assembled  group. 

I'd  like  to  ask  you  another  kind  of  question  and  this  probably 
touches  on  the  man's  influence.  This  morning  Mrs.  Wilson  and 
I  were  in  your  study  looking  at  your  1963  revision  of  Police 
Administration  which  I  personally  choose  to  call  the  "definitive 
tert  in  the  field." 

Thank  you  sir.   Is  that  on  tape? 

I'm  of  course  well  familiar  with  the  English  edition,  but  I  was 
aware  from  a  previous  visit  and  conversations  about  the  trans 
lations  which  I  know  are  in  Chinese  and  Japanese,  Arabic,  Spanish, 
and  Korean.   I  should  tell  you  that  while  your  back  was  turned 
Mrs.  Wilson  has  presented  me  with  a  copy  of  the  Japanese  edition, 
the  only  extra  copy  she  had,  so  I  got  away  with  that  for  the  Berkeley 
Police  Library.   I  want  to  ask  you  how  much  of  the  things  you've 
set  forth  there  and  some  of  the  principles  that  you  enunciated,  if 
that's  a  good  verb,  represent  the  Vollmer  influence  on  your 
thinking  about  standards  and  ethics  and  procedures  and  so  on. 
I  know  enough  that  a  good  deal  of  this  is  your  own  development 

Holstrom:  of  your  own  experience  and  your  own  thinking. 

Wilson:  No,  I  think  I'd  put  in  a  declaimer  there.  As  I  told  Jane 
earlier,  this  book,  while  I  wrote  it,  reflected  Vollmer1 s 
principles  and  philosophy  and  I  went  through  the  book  thor 
oughly  with  him,  chapter  by  chapter,  so  that  I  would  say  that 
it  reflects  August  Vollmer  rather  than  O.W.  Wilson. 

Holstrom:  Well,  I'm  sure  the  tape  recognizes  this  too.   I  was  talking 

about  the  translations  that  indicate  the  international  influence 
and  the  responsible  publishing  company,  McGraw-Hill,  felt  it 
important  enough  to  publish  these  translations  into  other 
languages  than  English.  This  leads  me  to  another  question. 
You'll  remember  that  in  the  middle  1950' s,  there  was  developed 
the  "Law  Enforcement  Code  of  Ethics".   I  don't  think  you  and 
I  can  ever  forget  the  problems  of  developing  that.  This  code 
of  ethics,  as  we  know,  has  been  adopted  by  many  police  depart 
ments  in  this  country  as  a  statement  of  ideals  which  is  what 
you  once  called  it.  Not  only  that,  but  it's  been  adopted  inter 
nationally  and  widely  published  and  adopted  by  police  associa 
tions  such  as  the  California  Police  Association,  the  International 
Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  and  others. 

You  will  recall  that  initially  this  was  proposed  by  a  group  of 
middle  management  people  like  lieutenants  who  were  interested 
in  professionalizing  the  police  service  mentioned  so  frequently 
by  Vollmer.  They  were  interested  in  developing  a  code  of 
ethics  or  set  of  standards.  You  will  remember  that  we  were  both 
there  when  a  San  Diego  police  lieutenant  by  the  name  of 
Gene  Muelheisen  presented  to  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  As 
sociation  the  first  draft.   You  will  remember  that  those  very 
conservative  police  chiefs  felt  it  should  be  rewritten  and  you 
will  also  remember  the  long  period  of  time  it  took  to  put  this 
concisely  on  one  page  and  we  were  involved.  Our  Dr.  Douglas 
Kelley  actually  did  almost  the  semi-final  draft.  So  we  had  a 
Code  of  Ethics  and  we  both  know  what  it  says.   I  want  to  ask  you 
if  it  isn't  true  that  that  Code  of  Ethics  represents  in  large 
measure  the  influence  of  the  Vollmer  philosophy  on  such  people 
as  you  and  me  and  Dr.  Kelley.   Is  this  a  correct  analysis? 

Wilson:  Yes,  I  would  say  that  it  is.  The  inception  of  the  Code  of  Ethics 
came  in  Wichita  and  was  outlined  in  the  "Square  Deal  Code."  We 
adopted  it  there  in  the  very  early  30' s.   If  you  read  that  code 
you  will  find  that  much  of  it  is  incorporated  in  this  Code  of 
Ethics  that's  been  accepted  by  the  IACP. 

Holstrom:   I  now  remember  the  "Square  Deal  Code"  and  I  had  forgotten  it. 
Of  course  you  developed  it.   I  don't  think  I  have  any  more 
questions  and  I  don't  want  to  go  over  the  same  ground  that  you 
went  over. 

JRH:  I'd  be  interested  to  know  if  you  remember  occasions  in  which  the 
three  of  you  had  been  working  together  or  socializing  together? 

Wilson:  I  can't  recall. 

Holstrora:  Not  so  much  together,  but  you  had  many  associations  with  him, 
professionally  and  socially  over  the  years.  The  span  of 
years  vas  longer  in  your  case.  I  served  under  him,  but  really 
didn't  have  a  close  association  with  him  until  after  he  retired 
from  the  University  in  the  late  1930' s.  Then  the  association 
in  my  case  vas  progressive,  personally  and  professionally,  until 
it  vas  quite  intimate  in  the  years  preceding  and  at  the  time  of 
his  death. 

Wilson:  I  have  no  recollection  of  the  three  of  us  being  together  at  any 

JRH:  Both  of  you  say  Vollmer  vas  extremely  influential  in  the  commun 
ity,  both  locally  and  in  the  professional  community.   I  haven't 
gotten  too  much  of  an  idea  of  his  impact  on  Berkeley  and  the 
people  he  vorked  vith  in  Berkeley.  In  vhat  sense  vas  he  influ 

Wilson:  I  don't  think  I  could  recall  anything  that  would  bear  on  this. 
I  can  recall  that  he  vas  friendly  vith  Berkeley  councilmen. 
I  can  recall  some  sort  of  a  run-in  vith  a  Berkeley  councilman, 
by  me  not  knovingifco  the  man  vas  and  I  vas  somewhat  chagrined 
vhen  I  found  that  he  was  a  Berkeley  councilman,  but  I  have  no 
information  relating  to  Vollmer1 s  relationships  to  councilmen 
individually  or  as  a  body.  Nor  the  city  government. 

JRH:  It  vas  probably  before  your  time  that  he  had  to  get  a  charter 

amendment  passed  in  order  to  become  Chief  of  Police.  Later  on 
did  he  need  any  city  council  amendments  to  get  any  of  his 

Holstrom:  That  really  vas  not  a  charter  amendment.  He  vas  the  Town  Marshal 
under  vhat  I  think  vas  the  charter  of  1895.   I  think  I  saw  this 
in  some  of  the  materials  you  had,  and  hov  much  he  did  or  didn't 
have  to  do  with  the  incorporation  vork  and  the  charter  of  1909,  I 
don't  know.   But  it  vould  be  normal  to  believe  that  the  1909 
charter  simply  ratified  automatically  the  position  of  Chief  of 
Police  as  one  of  the  officials  of  the  city  since  this  is 
California  practice. 

I  believe  I  mentioned  to  you  vhen  you  speak  of  his  relationship 
vith  the  community  that  he  vas  the  early  recipient  of  the 
Benjamin  Ide  Wheeler  Award.  This  award  vas  and  is  awarded  bi 
ennially  to  the  citizen  of  Berkeley  who  has  made  the  greatest 
contribution  to  the  community.  The  decision  is  made  of  a  council 
composed  of  the  presidents  of  the  service  clubs,  such  as  Rotary, 
Kivanis  and  the  others,  including  the  Soroptomists,  the  women's 
organization.   So  there's  a  broad  base  of  community  representation 
in  this  avard.  The  year  vas  around  the  early  30 's  and  the 
document  I  have  is  a  three  or  four  page  recommendation  to 
Dr.  Herman  Schwartz  who  headed  the  Pacific  School  of  Religion  and 

Holstrom:  who  was  Chairman  of  the  Wheeler  Award  Committee  that  year.  There 
was  representative  community  feeling  about  the  recipients  because 
this  has  always  been  true  as  far  as  my  recollection  goes  and 
that  precedes  1930. 

Wilson:  Jane,  you  asked  about  his  interest  in  social  welfare.  I 

recall  that  someone  made  a  study  and  published  a  thin  book  on, 
I  think,  Juvenile  delinquency  in  Berkeley.  I  can't  recall  the 
name  of  the  author.  Do  you? 

Holstrom:  No,  I  don't. 

Wilson:  He  was  sufficiently  interested  and  got  this  book  published  and  he 
was  always  interested  in  community  organizations  and  I  think  he 
developed  some  program  that  had  to  do  with  social  welfare  in 

Holstrom:  I  wonder  if  what  your  thinking  of  is  the  Coordinating  Council. 
This  Council  has  representation  from  the  social  agencies  in 
your  community,  including  the  people  in  the  schools.  This  is 
a  development  he  talked  about  in  his  later  years.  On  one  oc 
casion  he  told  me  that  he  felt,  and  this  may  have  been  as  late 
as  the  1950's,  that  perhaps  some  of  the  people  by  that  time  had 
really  forgotten  the  potential  value  of  the  Coordinating  Council 
which  in  his  viev  was  not  only  effective  but  essential  in  coordi 
nating  the  social  agencies  in  the  community.  Perhaps  touching 
on  this  too,  and  this  was  Just  after  you  left  the  department, 
O.W. ,  but  I'm  sure  you'd  know,  be  brought  to  Berkeley  an 
Elizabeth  Anderson  who  later  became  Elizabeth  Lossing.   She 
certainly  was  not  the  first  policewoman  in  the  country,  but  she 
was  the  most  prominent  one  in  Berkeley  police  history  because 
she  served  from  1925  to  19^5  and  she's  no  longer  alive.   I  am 
sure  that  Mrs.  Lossing  was  educated  in  some  mid-western  or 
eastern  college  in  social  welfare.  Isn't  that  probably  true? 

Wilson:  Yes. 

Holstrom:  Mrs.  Lossing' s  function  for  those  twenty  years  was  to  become  in 
volved  principally  in  the  disposition  of  cases  and  not  their 
investigation.  The  disposition  of  cases  involving  women  and 
children  under  tweive.   So  here  was  an  awareness  of  social  welfare. 

JRH:  Did  he  serve  on  the  Coordinating  Council? 
Holstrom:  Certainly. 

JRH:  What  were  some  of  the  other  groups  represented  on  this  Council? 
He  served  as  a  representative  from  the  Police  Department? 

Holstrom:   I  remember  clearly  the  schools.   I  remember  his  telling  me  that 
in  conjunction  with  the  local  school  system  and  I  think  a  man  by 
the  name  of  Virgil  Dickson  was  Assistant  Superintendent  of 
Schools.   Some  of  these  people  and  some  of  Vollmer's  people  talked 

Holstrom:  about  a  summer  project  and  I  think  the  name  of  it  was  the  Hawthorne 
Project.  These  people  on  this  Coordinating  Council,  or  at  least 
the  police  and  school  representatives,  sat  down  before  the  spring 
tern  had  ended  and  identified  the  people  they  thought  might 
become  community  problems  over  the  summer.  Problems  in  the  sense 
of  personal,  anti-social  activities.  Gently  and  diplomatically 
between  these  agencies,  some  kind  of  a  program  was  developed  for 
the  summer  in  an  effort  to  prevent  these  youngsters  from  getting 
into  trouble.  I'd  like  to  tell  you,  too,  in  this  connection 
that  Mrs.  Lossing's  unit  in  the  department  was  not  the  Juvenile 
bureau  and  was  not  the  women's  bureau,  but  the  crime  prevention 
bureau.  That  title  prevailed  well  into  the  1930' s,  well  after 
Vollmer  had  left.   I  probably  changed  it  myself  to  Juvenile 

JRH:  I'd  be  interested  to  know  if  you  were  in  together  in  other  groups 
like  the  Elks  or  other  community  groups. 

Wilson:  He  was  an  Elk. 

Holstrom:  I  really  think  that  his  personal  correspondence  files  or  the  files 
in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  and  in  the  Bancroft  Library 
would  reflect  this  because  for  his  era  a  good  deal  of  what  he  did 
was  committed  to  paper  and  correspondence. 

JRH:  Gene  Carte  mentioned  that  there  is  quite  a  bit  and  Mr.  Wilson  has 
mentioned  that  he  was  a  great  writer  and  that  he  wrote  a  lot  of 
people,  but  you  mean  the  records  of  the  Department  more  than  that? 

Holstrom:  He  was  not  only  a  great  writer,  but  he  thought  that  everybody  who 
knew  anything  should  put  it  on  paper.  One  of  my  disappointments 
to  him  was  that  I  didn't  start  writing  books  whan  I  was  21  years 
old.  I'll  never  forget  when  I  was  a  young  patrolman  and  I  might 
have  been  all  of  about  23  years  old  and,  as  happened  before  and 
happened  afterwards,  he  was  the  host  to  some  international  visitors. 
These  were  three  or  four  English  policemen  of  the  caliber  you 
later  associated  with  Chief  Constables  of  the  larger  cities. 
Vollmer  invited  them  to  California  after  an  IACP  conference  so 
they  came  to  see  this  great  man  and  this  great  police  department 
which  was  in  the  basement  of  City  Hall  in  truly  restricted 
quarters.  I  happened  to  be  in  the  Squad  Room  working  on  some  of 
that  overtime  we  were  still  doing  and  he  brought  these  men  in  to 
see  his  Squad  Room  which  was  adjoining  the  jail  and  was  the  place 
where  the  policemen  changed  their  clothes,  wrote  their  reports 
and  where  the  newspaper  reporters  functioned.  I  stopped  running 
the  typewriter  and  turned  around  and  he  introduced  me  to  these 
gentlemen  and  informed  them  that  I  had  been  graduated  from  the 
University  a  couple  of  years  before  and  that  I  was  writing  a 
police  book.  This  was  untrue  but  it  was  the  Vollmer  method  of 
encouraging  other  people  to  do  things.  This  bothered  me  for 
quite  a  while  until  I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  I  was  not  going 
to  be  an  author  of  a  police  book. 

INDEX    John  D.  Holstrom  and  Orlando  W.  Wilson 

Army  Alpha  Examination,  1,  2 
Ball,  Dr.  Juan  D. ,  2 

California  Police  Association,  U 
Carte,  Gene,  7 
Coordinating  Council,  6,  7 

Daily  Calif ornian,  The.  1 
Dean,  William,  1 
Dickson,  Virgil,  6 

Elks'  [Club],  The,  7 

Gordon,  Walter,  1,  2 
Greening,  Jack,  1 

Hawthorne  Project,  7 

International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  3,  **,  7 

Juvenile  Bureau,  7 

Kelley,  Douglas,  k 

Larson,  John,  2,  3 

Law  Enforcement  Code  of  Ethics,  U 

Lossing,  Elizabeth  Anderson,  6-7 

Maeshner,  Ed. ,  1 

McGraw-Hill  [Publishing  Company],  U 

Muelheisen,  Gene,  h 

Pacific  School  of  Religion,  5 
Police  Administration,  3 
Proctor,  Ralph,  1 

Rooney,  "Doc",  2 
Powell,  Hubert,  2-3 

Schwartz,  Herman,  5 
"Square  Deal  Code",  U 

University  of  California,  1 
Bancroft  Library,  7 

Wheeler,  [Benjamin  Ide]  Award,  6 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 

Milton  Chernin 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Refrents  of  The  University  of  California 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library /Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 

Milton  Chernin 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Re^nta  of  The  University  of  California 


Milton  Chernin  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part  of  a  series  on 
the  personal  and  professional  history  of  August  Vollmer.  Mr.  Chernin, 
Dean  of  the  School  of  Social  Welfare  at  the  University  of  California  at 
Berkeley,  was  selected  in  order  to  provide  an  academic  perspective  on 
Mr .  Vollmer ' s  career . 


Time  and  Setting 
of  the  Interview: 


Narrative  Account 
of  Dean  Chernin 
and  the  Progress 
of  the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

A  single  interview  was  conducted  on  July  7,  1971,  in 
Dean  Chernin 's  office  in  Haviland  Hall.  The  session 
began  shortly  after  2:00  p.m.  and  ended  at  approxi 
mately  3:00  p.m. 

Editing  of  the  transcribed  tapes  was  done  by  Jane 
Howard.  Minor  rearrangements  of  the  tape  were  made  in 
order  to  maintain  continuity  of  the  discussion  without 
interrupting  its  informal  quality.  Punctuation  and 
spelling  were  corrected.  Dean  Chernin  made  a  few 
grammatical  changes  to  clarify  and  added  a  few  comments 
to  amplify  his  original  statements.  The  changes  were 
not  substantive. 

Dean  Chernin  attended  the  University  of  California  at 
Los  Angeles  where  he  received  his  BA  degree  in  1929  and 
the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley  where  he 
received  his  Ph.D.  in  1937. 

Mr.  Chernin  has  been  on  the  University  of  California, 
Berkeley  staff  and  faculty  since  1931.  He  worked  for 
nine  years  in  the  Bureau  of  Public  Administration  doing 
research,  specializing  in  studies  on  welfare  and  cor 
rections.  He  also  did  studies  on  the  state  prison  and 
parole  system  which  were  used  by  the  state  in  reorganizing 
these  services.  Mr.  Chernin  Joined  the  faculty  of  the 
School  of  Social  Welfare  in  19^0.  After  a  leave  of 
absence  for  service  in  the  Army  during  World  War  II, 
he  was  appointed  Dean  of  the  School  of  Social  Welfare. 

Dean  Chernin  has  served  on  numerous  commissions  and 
public  bodies,  including  many  in  the  field  of  law  en 
forcement,  notably,  the  California  Crime  Commission  on 
Adult  Corrections  and  Release  Procedures,  the  Northern 


Milton  Chernin  (contd. ) 

California  Citizens'  Advisory  Board  to  the  California 
Attorney  General  on  Crime  Prevention,  of  vhich  he  was 
Chairman  from  191*7-19l»9. 

The  tape  follows  the  questionnaire  outline  quite 
closely.  It  begins  with  a  discussion  of  Chernin1 s 
early  work  as  a  research  assistant  to  Mr.  Vollmer. 
Mr.  Chernin  continues  with  a  lengthy  and  sophisticated 
discussion  of  Vollmer 's  personality,  commenting  on 
the  sense  of  integrity  and  dignity  that  he  conveyed. 
He  also  discusses  his  belief  that  Vollmer  may  have 
overemphasized  the  relevance  of  psychological  theory 
for  policing. 

Turning  to  stories  and  anecdotes,  Mr.  Chernin  recalls 
learning  forgery  and  safecracking  techniques  from 

Mr.  Chernin  discusses  Vollmer 's  professional  impact, 
stressing  the  fact  that  Vollraer's  ideas  had  a  world 
wide  influence  and  that  although  his  ideas  often  met 
initial  scepticism  from  his  colleagues,  the  ideas  he 
pioneered  have  become  the  basis  of  modern  police 

The  discussion  turns  to  Vollmer1 s  influence  within  the 
county  and  the  state  and  Chernin  discusses  Vollmer1 s 
role  in  the  development  of  the  Bureau  of  Criminal 
Identification  and  Investigation,  and  the  Alameda 
County  Coordinating  Council  and  his  police  surveys 
throughout  the  state  and  nation. 

The  interview  concludes  with  some  brief  comments  on 
Vollmer' s  second  wife  and  with  Chernin 's  reflection 
that  Vollmer 's  suicide,  as  he  sees  it,  was  completely 
congruent  with  his  lifelong  style  of  approaching  all 
problems  energetically  and  logically  and  acting  on  the 
basis  of  a  rational  evaluation  of  the  situation. 

Jane  Howard 

Chernin:   I  an  being  interviewed  about  my  relationship  with  August  Vollmer 
for  an  August  Volloer  historical  project. 

First,  what  was  my  personal  relationship  to  Vollmer? 

I  was  Mr.  Vollmer 's  research  and  teaching  assistant  for  several 
years  beginning  here  in  1929  or  1930  and  continuing  for  several 
years  after.  I  was  a  graduate  student  in  political  science, 
getting  my  master's  and  doctor's  degree  and  working  part-time  as 
a  research  assistant  in  the  Bureau  of  Public  Administration.  At 
that  time  the  Bureau  of  Public  Administration  on  the  Berkeley 
campus  had  received  a  very  substantial  grant  from  the  Rockefeller 
Foundation  to  start  a  program  in  the  administration  of  crininal 
Justice  and  as  a  result  of  this  program,  which  it  was  carrying  out 
in  cooperation  with  the  Political  Science  Dept.  and  others,  there 
were  added  to  its  own  research  staff  senior  people  in  various  fields, 
such  as  Herman  Adler,  the  famous  psychiatrist  and  state  criminolo- 
gist  from  the  state  of  Illinois;  a  man  called  Hugh  Fuller,  who  was 
an  expert  on  criminal  statistics;  and  August  Vollmer,  who  became  a 
professor  of  political  science  in  our  own  Political  Science  Dept. 
on  the  Berkeley  campus  and  a  research  associate  in  the  Bureau  of 
Public  Administration,  I  was  assigned  to  help  Vollmer  which  I  did 
for  several  years,  both  in  his  research  work  and  in  his  teaching 
of  courses  on  police  administration  in  the  Political  Science  Dept. 

August  Vollmer  had  a  very  decided  impact  en  ray  own  life,  both 
personally  and  professionally.  As  a  result  of  my  working  for  him 
we  became  fast  personal  friends  and  this  extended  later  to  my  wife 
when  I  got  married  because  August  Vollmer  was  one  of  those  people 
who  established  warm  and  close  relationships  with  people  he  worked 
with  and  who  extended  to  them  help  and  relationships  in  various 
aspects  of  his  life.  He  also  influenced  me  greatly  in  my  profes 
sional  career  because,  as  a  result  of  him  and  others,  I  did  both 
my  master's  and  doctoral  dissertation  in  the  areas  of  state  cor 
rectional  systems  and  for  many  years  afterwards  when  T  Joined  the 
faculty  of  the  Berkeley  campus,  I  taught  courses  in  the  administration 
of  criminal  Justice  in  which  police  administration  played  a  large 
part  and  much  of  my  own  philosophy  about  the  police  and  the  ad 
ministration  of  criminal  Justice  were  influenced  both  by  August 
Vollmer 's  professional  opinion  and  personal  education  of  me  as  his 
research  assistant. 

I  shared  an  office  in  the  basement  of  South  Hall  with  August  Vollmer 
for  some  years  and  continued  my  personal  relationship  with  him  long 
after  our  official  relationship  ended  and  when  I  had  gone  on  to 
other  work  in  the  University  and  he  had  retired  and  ceased  active 
teaching  and  research.   I  used  to  see  him  at  home  and  kept  in  close 
personal  touch  with  him  until  the  time  he  died. 

Chernin:  As  his  research  assistant  I  did  various  Jobs;  I  helped  him  with 
several  of  the  books  he  was  working  on.  For  example,  at  one 
point  he  stimulated  the  production  of  a  book  on  police  communi 
cation  systems  to  be  written  by  a  man  called  Vivian  Leonard  who 
was  a  member  of  the  professional  staff,  I  think,  of  the  Records 
Systems  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Dept.  As  a  result  of  that  I  helped 
Leonard  organize  that  book  and  gathered  material  and  actually 
wrote  the  chapter  on  "police  communications  systems  under  emer 
gency  conditions"  around  1931*  and  1935. 

I  also  did  a  great  deal  of  the  library  research  for  things  that 
August  Vollmer  was  interested  in,  writing  on,  or  working  on.  I 
remember,  for  example,  in  one  part  of  my  work  for  him  I  traced 
the  development  of  manuals  of  municipal  police  departments  from 
the  very  first  one  that  was  ever  produced  in  the  United  States 
when  the  city  of  New  York  professionalized  its  watch  into  a  police 
department .  I  traced  it  through  to  the  very  latest  manuals  that 
we  secured  from  various  police  departments  and  T  remember  to  this 
day  how  much  I  was  impressed  by  the  fact  that  some  of  the  provi 
sions  in  the  first  manual  of  the  New  York  City  Police  Dept.  are 
still  in  the  manual  of  current  police  departments  almost  unchanged 
and  that  these  had  been  copied  in  large  measure  by  the  original 
New  York  City  policeman  from  copies  of  the  manual  they  had  secured 
from  Scotland  Yard  in  London.  Thus  I  learned  that  one  aspect  of 
administration  is  to  recognize  the  importance  of  early  developments 
and  what  a  terrific  long  life  some  things  can  have  because  of  the 
tendency  of  people  to  copy  what  someone  else  did  rather  than  think 
through  for  themselves  what  their  problems  and  what  their  solutions 
may  be. 

What  kind  of  a  man  waa  Vollmer? 

Vollmer  was  a  complex  person.  He  cannot  be  characterized  in  any 
simple  terms.  One  of  the  outstanding  impressions  that  I  always 
had  of  him,  and  I  still  have  of  him,  was  that  he  was  a  man  of 
great  dignity  and  while  he  was  a  friendly  person  and  a  warm  person, 
I  can't  remember  that  anyone  ever  treated  him  lightly  or  with  a 
kind  of  light  personal  relationship  which  characterizes  many  of  our 
relationships.  Just  recently,  when  talking  about  Vollmer  with 
John  Holstrom,  I  asked  Holstrom  if  he  could  remember  ever  being 
on  a  Joking  and  funny  story  or  off-color  story  relationship  with 
Vollmer,  and  he  said  no  that  he  couldn't  and  that  certainly  coin 
cided  with  my  memory  of  Vollmer,  that  I  couldn't.  And  yet  Holstrom 
had  said  that  he  had  heard  stories  of  escapadea  and  relationships 
that  Vollmer  may  have  had  with  other  persons  in  Elk's  Club  or  so 
on.   I  also  heard  anecdotes  of  this  kind  when  Vollraer  was  the 
Marshal  of  the  City  of  Berkeley  and  the  kind  of  friendly  relation 
ships  he  had  with  some  of  the  fraternity  men  in  the  University, 
but  certainly  I  never  saw  anyone  who  felt  on  that  kind  of  personal 
relationship  with  him.  I  saw  Vollmer  in  relationship  to  many  men 
whan  he  loved  and  who  loved  him  and  with  whom  he  had  worked  and 

Chernin:  developed  and  yet  everyone  of  them  treated  him  with  a  certain 
respect  because  of  his  dignity  that  was  almost  similar  to  what 
I  suspect  must  go  on  in  close  personal  relationships  with  men  who 
have  become  President  of  the  United  States  and  yet  who  probably 
have  close  friends  or  members  of  their  family  who  address  them  as 
Mr.  President.  This  of  course  was  a  tremendous  reflection  of  this 
man's  worth,  his  self-esteem  and  the  fact  that  ao  many  of  the  per 
sons  with  whom  he  associated  recognized  that  he  was  one  of  the 
great  men  of  this  century  and  perhaps  in  world  history  in  the 
area  of  police  administration  and  his  contributions  to  it. 

Another  aspect  that  always  impressed  me  about  August  Vollraer  was 
the  wide  variety  and  heterogeneity  of  the  people  whom  he  knew,  who 
came  to  see  him,  whom  he  associated  with,  and  whom  he  influenced. 
I  remember  sharing  his  office  in  the  basement  of  South  Hall,  which 
was  also  shared  by  Mrs.  Muriel  Hunter  who  for  many  years  was  his 
secretary.  The  three  of  us  would  work  in  that  office  and  so  we 
had  an  opportunity  to  see  the  wide  variety  of  different  kinds  of 
people  who  came  to  see  August  Vollmer.  These  included  all  kinds  of 
foreign  visitors  from  the  police  administration  field;  they  included 
people  from  local  and  other  police  departments  in  the  United 
States;  scholarly  people  from  other  universities  who  came  to  see 
him  about  the  developments  in  police  administration;  students  and 
other  faculty  members.  But  interestingly  also,  and  what  impressed 
me  very  much  as  a  young  graduate  student,  were  the  number  of  crimi 
nals  and  people  whom  Vollmer  may  have  arrested  or  had  something  to 
do  with  their  criminal  careers,  who  came  to  see  him  after  they  had 
served  prison  sentences  and  so  on  because  of  their  great  trust  in 
him  and  their  need  to  get  some  guidance  and  possibly  to  hit  him 
up  for  a  loan  and  so  on  because  he  was  not  only  able  and  willing 
to  discuss  their  problems  but  was  willing  and  able  to  help  them  by 
giving  them  money  and  so  on.  I  don't  know  whether  any  of  them 
thought  of  him  as  a  soft  touch  but  he  was  a  man  who  believed  in 
helping  people  in  a  wide  variety  of  practical  ways. 

JRH:  Vollmer 's  great  dignity  didn't  tend  to  put  people  off? 

Chernin:   It  was  very  interesting  that  his  dignity  did  not  put  people  off 
because  his  dignity  was  only  one  aspect  of  the  man's  personality. 
His  warmth,  his  concern,  his  obvious  integrity  —  he  was  one  of 
the  most  principled  men  that  I  have  ever  met.  It  would  never  occur 
to  anyone  that  this  man  could  ever  be  suborned  or  bribed,  or  pre 
judiced  or  in  any  other  way  influenced  from  what  he  thought  was 
right.  He  had  such  a  tremendous  capacity  to  live  his  kind  of  a 
life  and  I  think  it  came  through  to  all  kinds  of  people  with  whom 
he  related,  whom  he  helped  in  many  ways,  whom  he  inspired  towards 
all  kinds  of  work. 

I  recall  another  very  important  aspect  of  Vollmer 's  personality 
that  always  impressed  me  and  which  I  say  not  in  criticism  but  as 
an  insight  T  think  I  developed.  Vollmer  really  had,  and  displayed 
in  much  of  what  he  did,  a  basic  insecurity  in  his  own  knowledge 

Chernin:  because  of  his  own  lack  of  formal  education  which  in  some  ways 

led  him  to  respect  formal  education  and  to  expect  from  men  who  had 
more  of  it  than  he  did  more  than  was  really  available  in  them. 
My  own  impression  on  this  is  that  Vollmer  probably  had  more  faith 
in  what  psychiatrists  could  contribute  to  the  understanding  of  a 
policeman's  personality  and  character;  whet  psychiatrists  could 
do  to  help  in  the  selection  of  policemen,  the  education  and  train 
ing  of  policemen  and  in  the  coping  with  various  problems  of 
police  discipline,  etc.,  probably  Vollmer  expected  more  from  this 
area  of  knowledge  and  from  the  psychiatrists  whom  he  employed, 
whom  he  associated  with  and  whom  he  worked  with  than  they  were 
actually  capable  of  delivering  or  that  their  knowledge  base  was 
capable  of  furnishing.  It  always  seemed  to  me  that  in  this  one 
area  and  particularly  the  fact  that  August  Vollmer  did  not  have  a 
great  deal  of  formal  education  (my  understanding  was  that  he  had  a 
high  school  education  plus  a  summer's  work  in  a  proprietary  school 
of  business  at  which  time  he  went  to  work  as  a  policeman  and  was 
elected  Marshal),  that  this  came  through  and  formed  some  sort  of  a 
basic  lead  to  understanding  this  man.  I  make  this  point  because  I 
hadn't  heard  it  discussed  by  his  friends  and  his  admirers  and  yet 
because  of  my  own  background  as  an  academic  in  the  University,  I 
think  I  was  aware  of  this.   I  also  think  that  it  partly  affected 
Vollmer 's  behavior  in  the  University  and  affected  partly  his  own 
conception  of  his  place  on  a  University  faculty.  I  think  in  a 
subtle  way  he  always  felt  a  bit  inferior  on  a  faculty  because  of 
this  lack  of  advanced  education  and  not  simply  because  he  didn't 
have  a  doctorate  and  couldn't  be  addressed  as  doctor;  it  was  much 
more  subtle  than  that.  I  do  believe  that  if  someone  were  to  write 
a  penetrating  biography  of  August  Vollmer  this  particular  aspect 
of  him  would  have  to  be  explored  much  more  fully. 

Having  said  this  I  think  I  must  emphasize  that  it  must  be  Judged 
in  the  light  of  the  fact  that  he  was  probably  one  of  the  most  in 
novative,  thoughtful,  contributing  men  to  the  improvement  of  police 
administration,  police  science  and  basic  ideas  in  police  work. 
These  contributions  of  his  covered  the  whole  gemut  of  the  police 
field  of  which  the  following  are  a  few  examples;  the  use  of  psychi 
atric  information  and  knowledge  in  the  selection  of  policemen  and 
in  influencing  his  concept  of  how  a  policeman  should  behave  and 
what  a  policeman's  work  should  be;  his  developments  and  his  contri 
butions  to  the  development  of  police  communications  systems  because 
he  was  one  of  the  first  who  utilized  radio  in  communicating  with 
policemen  when  they  were  on  the  beat;  in  transportation  —  he  was 
one  of  the  pioneers  in  taking  policemen  off  of  foot  patrol  and 
putting  them  first  on  bicycles  and  then  in  automobiles  in  order  to 
enhance  their  efficiency  and  the  economy  of  utilization. 

One  of  his  greatest  contributions  was  an  idea  that  he  pursued  for 
years  and  that  was  to  try  to  develop  and  analyze  scientifically  all 
of  the  aspects  of  the  police  patrolman's  work  and  to  weight  the 
various  duties  and  responsibilities  that  a  policeman  had  on  patrol 

Chernin:   in  order  to  work  out  a  more  scientific  basis  for  constructing  a 
police  beat.   It  was  interesting  that  I  learned  from  him  and 
through  the  research  I  did  for  him,  that  the  essential  concept 
of  the  police  beat  had  been  worked  out  by  Sir  Robert  Peel  when 
he  created  the  London  professional  police  force  in  the  early 
nineteenth  century  in  vhich  he  bad  Just  taken  a  map  of  London 
and  laid  it  out  in  squares  vhich  corresponded  to  the  number  of 
policemen  he  had.  This  particular  simplistic  idea  of  the  geo 
graphic  beat  had  not  been  changed  in  its  essentials  since  it  was 
Introduced  by  Peel.  Vollmer  Justly  perceived  that  this  was  com 
pletely  unscientific  and  irrational  and  not  very  productive  and 
that  it  created  a  great  many  inequities  in  police  work.  He 
decided  that  one  of  the  things  that  ought  to  be  done  vas  to  analyze 
and  break  up  the  policeman's  Job  into  every  kind  of  a  specific 
task  that  it  consisted  of;  then  to  get  men  to  keep  records  of  how 
many  times  they  did  these  particular  tasks  and  how  much  time  it 
took  to  do  each  task  and  then  to  put  these  together  into  some 
sort  of  a  formula.  When  you  put  it  all  together,  a  police  beat 
would  come  out  equitably,  giving  each  man  the  same  total  burden 
of  work  to  be  done.  This  of  course  meant  that  in  a  crowded 
downtown  area  where  there  were  high  value  property  with  many 
business  doors  to  be  shaken  and  so  on,  a  man  might  have  a  very 
small  geographic  beat.  Whereas  in  the  outlying  residential 
areas  a  man  might  have  a  very  large  geographic  beat  and  still 
not  be  doing  any  more  in  total  than  the  dovntown  man.  This  now 
seems  to  us  to  be  a  very  simplistic  kind  of  analysis  and  yet 
until  Vollmer  had  developed  this  idea,  nobody  had  thought  of  this. 
Vollmer  devoted  a  great  deal  of  his  own  research  time  to  the 
scientific  study  of  the  beat;  he  stimulated  many  professional 
policemen  and  students  to  work  on  this  problem;  work  which  is 
still  going  on.   It  is  a  good  example  of  the  kind  of  scientific 
police  administration  he  conceived  of  and  stimulated. 

JRH:   I  think  most  people  don't  bring  this  out  and  I  think  eventually 

Gene  might  be  interested  in  writing  a  biography.  You  brought  out 
that  you  feel  that  Vollmer  thought  that  psychiatry  could  deliver 
more  than  it  can;  what  about  academically?  What  about  his  belief 
that  education  contributes  so  much  to  police  work? 

Chernin:   I  think  not  quite.  Why  I  mentioned  psychiatry  is  that  one  of 

Vollmer 's  most  compelling  intellectual  interests  was  in  this  whole 
area  of  the  selection  of  policemen,  their  education  and  training, 
especially  in  their  personality  areas.  He  had  a  conception  of  the 
policeman  as  being  so  much  more  of  a  social  worker  than  a  preventer 
of  crime  or  the  suppresser  of  criminals  through  their  arrest  and 
conviction,  that  he  was  inevitably  led  into  this  whole  area  of  what 
are  the  personality  attributes  of  a  person  who  would  make  an  ex 
cellent  policeman  in  his  own  conception  of  the  breadth  of  this  man's 
responsibilities.  During  all  his  life,  he  read  avidly  and  studied 
avidly  in  this  area  of  personality  development,  including  an  attempt 
to  find  out  what  the  biological,  sociological,  psychological, 

Chernin:  anthropological  components  of  personality  analysis  and  develop 
ment  were.   In  all  of  these  areas  it  seemed  to  me  that  Vollmer 
suffered  from  the  fact  that  his  own  formal  education  had  never 
given  him  an  adequate  knowledge  base;  to  feel  absolutely  secure 
in  his  own  ability  to  understand  what  he  read  and  sometimes  I 
felt  that  he  Just  didn't  have  the  knowledge  base  to  be  able 
critically  to  evaluate  what  he  was  reading,  and  what  the  signifi 
cance  of  these  contributions  were.  I  had  the  feeling  often 
times  that  he  was  beyond  his  depth  in  this  kind  of  study  which  he 
pursued  relentlessly  and  that  he  often  turned  for  guidance  and 
counseling  in  these  areas  to  men  who  might  not  have  been  the  best 
minds  in  that  particular  area  but  whose  advice  and  counsel  he 
took  perhaps  with  more  trust  than  was  Justified.  I  didn't,  however, 
feel  that  this  was  a  handicap  to  him  in  such  areas  as  the  knowl 
edge  base  for  administrative  organization  and  for  the  actual  or 
ganization  of  police  departments  and  so  on  because  there,  it  seems 
to  me,  either  the  knowledge  base  was  much  more  easily  comprehen 
sible  to  men  without  too  much  formal  education  or  that  it  was  the 
kind  of  knowledge  which  he  was  equipped  much  more  adequately  to 
grasp  from  his  own  experience  and  his  own  reading.  Here  I  think 
he  made  a  contribution  about  which  every  thoughtful  analysis  will 
come  out  in  the  same  way;  namely  that  he  was  thoroughly  competent 
to  make  an  outstanding  contribution  in  those  areas. 

Vollmer,  I  am  sure,  made  a  deep  and  lasting  impression  on  all 
kinds  of  people  all  over  the  world.  He  had  a  reputation  which 
gave  him  great  stature  among  practicing  policemen  and  among  police 
administrators  both  here  and  abroad.  His  reputation  in  England 
among  police  administrators  there  was  probably  almost  as  great  as 
it  was  in  this  country.  He  had  a  very  high  reputation  among  the 
academic  people  interested  in  police  science  and  police  adminis 
tration.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  many  of  the  different  college  cur 
ricula  in  police  administration  which  started  to  develop  under  his 
aegis  were  pioneered  by  the  men  he  had  educated  both  at  the 
University  of  Chicago  and  here.  Their  content  was  probably  more 
affected  by  August  Vollmer  than  by  any  other  single  person  that  I 
know  of.  He  impressed  a  wide  spectrum  of  people  with  the  fact 
that  he  was  a  great  man  and  unlike  what  the  poet  usually  says,  that 
you  have  to  wait  until  after  death  for  recognition  to  come,  he  was 
recognized  widely  in  the  United  States  and  all  over  the  world  as 
a  great  man  in  police  administration  during  his  lifetime.  He  im 
pressed  generations  of  students,  he  trained  generations  of  students 
for  leadership  positions  in  police  work  and  many  of  the  men  who 
became  the  outstanding  professors  of  police  administration  after 
he  retired,  such  as  Orlando  W.  Wilson,  are  people  who  served  with 
him  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Dept.  or  whom  he  had  trained  and  educated 
afterwards.  Vollner  was  one  of  these  fortunate  men  who  in  his  own 
lifetime  was  recognized  and  rewarded  in  many  ways  for  the  great 
contributions  he  had  made  in  his  work. 

Chernin:  When  it  comes  to  anecdotes  and  stories  about  Vollmer,  most  of 
what  I  remember  I  think  he  told  me  about  himself.  He  used  to 
tell  me  and  others  with  a  great  deal  of  pleasure,  some  of  the 
sort  of  escapades  that  he  had  lived  through  vhen  he  was  the 
elected  Marshal  of  the  City  of  Berkeley;  with  fraternity  boys 
and  the  escapades  that  they  used  to  carry  on  around  the  University 
and  with  which  he  had  to  cope  and  how  he  used  much  more  the  idea 
of  personal  influence  on  them  rather  than  harsh  pressure.  I'm 
not  sure  whether  I  heard  from  him  or  from  others  the  fact  that  he 
would  often  Join  in  a  beer  bust  and  so  on  and  as  a  matter  of  fact 
I  think  I  may  be  confusing  these  escapades  during  the  time  he  was 
a  Marshal  with  those  when  I  think  he  was  a  mail  carrier  here  in 
Berkeley  and  that  some  of  these  escapades  may  have  been  when  he 
delivered  mail  to  the  various  fraternities  and  perhaps  Joined  them 
in  a  little  escapade. 

By  and  large  I  don't  recall  too  much  of  the  lighter  side  of  Vollmer. 
I  do  recall  that  he  was  a  man  who  had  a  tremendous  amount  of  prac 
tical  knowledge  of  criminal  behavior  and  I  still  recall  how  he 
once  taught  me  the  elementary  ways  of  becoming  a  forger.  I  still 
show  this  off  myself  with  company  as  a  parlor  game.  What  Vollmer 
told  me  was  that  the  essential  thing  if  you  want  to  become  a 
forger  is  to  break  the  writing  habits  that  we  have  developed  in 
the  way  we  write  long  after  any  conscious  concept  of  what  we  do 
has  disappeared.  If  you  wanted  to  forge  a  signature,  you  cannot 
forge  it  if  you  are  trying  deliberately  to  write  the  person's  name 
because  your  own  unconscious  habits  of  forming  the  letters  get  into 
the  way  of  copying  this  so  what  you  do  is  you  turn  the  signature 
that  you're  trying  to  forge  upside  down  and  then  try  to  reproduce 
the  form  of  the  writing  upside  down  and  from  back  to  the  front  and 
in  this  way  the  signature  ceases  to  be  letr.ers  and  becomes  a  form. 
Then  he  showed  me  about  it  and  asked  me  to  try  it  and  I  was  aston 
ished  that  the  very  first  time  I  tried  it,  I  came  up  with  a  better 
facsimile  of  a  signature  than  I  could  have  made  if  I  tried  it  the 
other  way.  These  are  the  sort  of  things  he  had  a  wide  fund  of 
knowledge  of  and  it  impressed  me.  He  told  me,  for  example,  how 
easy  it  was  to  get  into  a  house  if  what  it  had  was  a  hog-eye  lock 
and  key.  It's  really  one  of  the  old-fashioned  types  of  household 
keys  and  he  said  that  it  was  so  simple  to  manipulate.  He  also  told 
me  other  things  about  how  you  could  get  into  a  more  complex  lock 
with  a  little  piece  of  celluloid  and  so  on.  Not  having  any  mechani 
cal  skill  I  never  really  practiced  this,  but  this  was  an  example  of 
a  great  many  things  Vollmer  had  and  knew  and  shared. 

JRH:  Not  necessarily  light  anecdotes  —  do  you  recall  more  serious 

Chernin:  Yes  I  do  but  I  don't  remember  an  awful  lot  of  them  because  most  of 
the  time  when  I  was  working  with  him  and  so  on  we  were  doing  other 
things  but  I  suspect  that  others  might  have  been  on  a  different 
relationship  and  perhaps  would  know  a  little  more  about  him  than  I 

Chernin:  did  in  those  areas.   I  suppose  there  was  also,  in  relationship 
to  this  whole  matter,  a  generation  gap  between  us  and  he  may 
very  well  have  shared  more  of  this  with  men  a  little  closer  to 
his  own  age  than  I  was. 

What  was  Vollmer's  professional  impact? 

My  own  impression  was  that  Vollmer  probably  had  greater  influence 
on  the  development  of  police  administration  in  the  United  States, 
its  modernization,  its  introduction  of  what  we  would  consider 
developments  of  the  20th  century,  both  in  the  United  States  and 
elsewhere,  than  any  other  single  person.   I  would  suspect  that  he 
ranks  in  the  twentieth  century  right  along  with  the  traditional 
concept  of  what  Sir  Robert  Peel  did  in  the  modernization  of  police 
work  in  the  19th  century.   I  know  that  he  had  a  tremendous  influence 
on  how  municipal  and  other  police  departments  developed  in  almost 
every  aspect  of  their  work.  His  reputation  extended  to  knowledge 
and  influence  on  police  departments  of  all  sizes,  from  the  largest 
metropolitan  ones  to  the  small,  modest  size  police  departments 
like  Berkeley.  This  influence  was  extended  not  only  through  the 
example  he  set  when  he  was  developing  the  Berkeley  Police  Department 
into  a  national  and  international  model  which  was  visited  by 
police  administrators  from  all  over  the  world,  but  his  influence 
was  spread  by  the  fact  that  he  was  very  influential  in  the  Inter 
national  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  in  which  he  held  high 
office  and  in  which  he  had  been  active  and  which  often  times  took 
his  ideas  and  developed  them  after  a  good  bit  of  lag  because  many 
of  his  ideas  were  threatening  to  established  chiefs  of  police  and 
conservative  ones.  Often  they  would  pooh-pooh  them  when  they  first 
heard  them  and  then  a  few  years  later  when  you  were  reading  the 
proceedings  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police 
you  read  of  their  acceptance.   Incidentally,  that's  part  of  the  Job 
I  did  for  Vollmer.  I  read  every  one  of  its  proceedings  from  the 
time  it  was  first  organized  until  I  quit  work  for  him.  It  was 
interesting  to  see  how  influential  his  ideas  were  in  that  organi 
zation,  over  time. 

JRH:  What  were  people  saying  when  his  ideas  were  advanced  and  people 
wouldn't  accept  them  at  first?  What  were  people  saying  against 

Chernin:  They  were  usually  the  kind  of  scepticism  of  new  ideas  and  new  ap 
plications  with  which  almost  all  professionals  involved  in  day  by 
day  administrative  responsibilities  react  when  they  hear  a  strange 
idea.  If  you  say  "put  policemen  on  bicycles"  and  policemen  never 
did  anything  but  walk  on  foot,  your  reaction  is  to  pooh-pooh  the 
idea  of  a  bicycle  or  to  say  if  a  man  was  on  a  bicycle  he  would 
whiz  by  the  things  he  ought  to,  as  a  police  patrolman,  see.  We 
see  that  particular  kind  of  a  problem  right  now  in  the  perennial 
discussion  of  whether  police  work  hasn't  really  deteriorated  now 
that  policemen  ride  around  in  automobiles  and  very  few  policemen 
pound  a  foot  beat .  You  can  still  read  in  police  literature  and  in 

Chernin:  newspapers  articles  deploring  the  passing  of  the  good  old  days 

when  the  police  patrolman  knew  everybody  on  his  beat  and  was  able 
to  prevent  crime  because  of  this. 

Similarly,  with  the  development  of  other  sorts  of  police  adminis 
trative  innovations  in  communication.  Vollmcr's  span  of  police 
work  in  police  communications  covered  the  development  of  police 
recall  systems  and  improvement  through  call  boxes  and  then  went 
on  to  radio.  The  radio  was  first  one-way  radio  and  then  became 
two-way  radio  and  then  again  even  three-way  radio.  Every  one  of 
these  was  met  with  scepticism  at  first  and  then  technological 
developments  came  along  and  then  pretty  soon  what  was  perceived 
as  an  impractical  suggestion  became  the  standard  and  acceptable 
way  of  doing  things. 

One  of  the  things  that  Vollmer  was  influential  in  developing  and 
which  certainly  met  with  a  great  deal  of  scepticism  was  the  de 
velopment  of  the  modus  operand!  system:  the  idea  that  professional 
criminals  would  have  developed  a  certain  technique  of  doing  their 
thing  which,  if  carefully  reported  on  and  analyzed  and  coded  and 
put  in  a  file,  might  lead  to  the  identification  of  a  criminal 
beyond  the  development  of  fingerprints  left  and  recaptured  at  the 
scene.  This  he  helped  pioneer  and  you  can  imagine  the  scepticism 
with  which  such  an  idea  was  first  met.  It  would  seem  that  it  was 
either  fantastic  or  much  too  complicated,  etc.  Now  the  modus 
operand!  system,  not  only  on  the  local  level,  but  on  the  state 
and  national  level,  is  taken  as  one  of  the  indispensible  aspects 
of  police  work.  When  I  worked  with  Vollmer  this  was  back  far 
enough  so  that  modus  operand!  was  still  being  developed  and  he  was 
pioneering  it.  This  is  the  kind  of  an  example  of  a  man  whose 
constant  questing  mind  always  approached  every  problem  of  police 
administration  from  the  point  of  view  that  said,  "if  this  is  the 
way  it ' s  always  been  done ,  that ' s  why  you  should  suspect  it , 
analyze  it  and  see  whether  there  isn't  a  better  way  of  doing  it" 
rather  than  the  approach  that  most  of  us  have  toward  problems  which 
is  "this  is  the  way  it's  always  been  done  and  so  that's  the  right 
way  of  doing  it."  It  never  occurs  to  us  that  maybe  there's  a  better 
way  of  doing  it. 

I  would  Just  summarize  the  question  about  what  were  the  major 
influences  Vollmer  had  on  policemen  education  and  training  and 
other  areas  to  say  that  in  his  lifetime  he  probably  pioneered  and 
developed  new  ideas  in  every  one  of  the  important  areas.  For 
example,  in  training,  August  Vollmer  became  identified  with  the 
idea  that  the  policeman  ought  to  have  a  great  deal  of  education 
and  training  so  that  the  college  cop  became  identified  with  Vollraer's 
idea  that  a  policeman  was  a  professional  person  and  that  professional 
education  and  training  of  a  policeman  probably  required  as  much 
formal  education  as  a  baccalaureate  degree  in  college  would  require. 
This  led  actually  to  some  false  ideas  about  the  Berkeley  Police 
Dept.  because  nationally  it  became  a  cliche  that  the  Berkeley 
Police  Dept.  required  college  education  for  its  policemen.  This 


Chernin:  never  was  the  truth.   It  probably  was  true  that  the  Berkeley  Police 
Dept.  under  Vollmer's  administration  and  that  of  his  successors, 
had  a  higher  proportion  of  men  with  either  full  college  educations 
or  part  college  educations  than  other  police  departments,  but  it 
never  was  true  that  the  Berkeley  Police  Dept.  required  a  baccalaure 
ate  in  order  to  get  on  the  force  and  that  it  ever  tried  to  achieve  a 
force  with  this  kind  of  formal  education.  The  college  cop  became 
inevitably  associated  with  Vollmer's  idea  that  police  work  required 
much  more  formal  education  than  most  policemen  had. 

I  remember  an  incident  in  his  life  at  a  time  when  Vollmer  was  called 
to  testify  in  a  court  case  testing  an  attempt  by  the  Oakland  Civil 
Service  Commission,  probably  instigated  by  the  chief  of  police  who 
was  influenced  by  Vollmer,  to  set  a  standard  for  the  recruitment  of 
Oakland  policemen  which  I  think  would  have  set  the  standard  at  two 
years  of  college  education  or  perhaps  of  high  school  graduation. 
This  standard  was  challenged  in  a  court  suit  in  the  Alameda  County 
Superior  Court  and  Vollmer  was  called  as  an  expert  to  testify  on 
the  basis  of  his  expertise,  this  particular  standard  (whether  it 
was  high  school  or  two  years  of  college,  I'm  not  sure,  but  it  was 
higher  than  that  which  had  prevailed  till  that  time),  was  a  necessary 
and  reasonable  standard  related  to  the  requirements  of  police  work. 
That  case  was  lost  in  spite  of  Vollmer's  testimony  because  the  Judge 
found  that  it  violated  the  provision  of  the  Oakland  City  Charter 
which  at  that  time  said  that  a  policeman  had  to  have  only  an  eighth 
grade  education.  Vollmer  felt  rather  badly  that  old  provisions  were 
still  effective  when  he  was  so  convinced  that  nobody  with  only  an 
8th  grade  education  was  sufficiently  educated  and  trained  to  do  the 
complex  and  demanding  work  that  a  policeman's  work  demanded. 

JRH:  Were  they  ever  able  to  get  that  provision  changed? 

Chernin:   I  think  so,  although  I  didn't  follow  it.  Most  police  departments 
now  probably  are  up  to  the  level  of  a  high  school  education  but 
still  I  suspect  that  how  much  education  and  the  idea  that  a  policeman 
could  be  over-educated  and  that  there  really  isn't  anything  that 
complex  about  a  police  department  and  the  old  cliches  that  police 
chiefs  used  to  say  —  Why,  Just  give  me  the  man  and  I'll  give  him 
his  gun  and  his  club  and  a  badge  and  tell  him  to  go  out  and  enforce 
the  ten  commandments  and  by  God  that's  all  a  policeman  needs  to 
know  to  be  a  darn  good  policeman  —  I  suppose  there's  still  parts 
of  the  world  and  parts  of  the  United  States  where  practical  men  think 
that  that  probably  is  all  that's  required.  Probably  there  are  still 
places  where  policemen  are  recruited  with  no  more  education  and 
training  that  that. 

In  what  ways  was  Vollmer  influential  in  the  community  —  in  Berkeley 
and  in  Alameda  County? 

In  Berkeley  Vollmer  had  become  during  his  lifetime  one  of  the  most 
influential  men  who  had  ever  lived  in  the  community,  both  in  *lj  of 
the  work  that  he  did  as  Police  Chief  and  the  things  that  he  actually 


Chernin:  developed  in  the  city  of  Berkeley  in  the  way  of  how  to  do  police 
work.  Vollmer  was  one  of  the  organizers  and  developers  of  the 
coordinating  council  idea  in  which  he  and  Virgil  Dickson,  the 
Berkeley  Superintendent  of  Schools,  tried  to  develop,  and  did,  an 
idea  which  swept  the  country  and  became  one  of  the  standard  features 
of  advanced  municipal  organization.  In  the  coordinating  council 
the  police  and  the  school  people  and  the  voluntary  welfare  agencies 
got  together  to  work  to  coordinate  their  planning  and  their  adminis 
tration  of  different  programs  for  dealing  with  young  people  and 
Juveniles  who  were  classified  as  delinquents.  Vollmer  developed 
this  idea  in  Berkeley  and  it  spread  all  over  the  country  and  became 
a  national  movement  of  coordinating  councils.  At  the  time,  when  I 
knew  Vollmer,  a  coordinating  council  was  perceived  as  a  sort  of  a 
panacea.  Now,  with  our  greater  sophistication  we  see  that  it 
couldn't  possibly  have  the  effect  that  people  thought  it  could  or 
should  have.  Nevertheless,  this  was  Just  an  example  of  the  kind  of 
thing  that  Vollmer  stood  for  in  the  city  of  Berkeley.  He  was  prob 
ably  one  of  the  most  influential  men  who  ever  lived  here. 

Similarly,  I  suspect,  he  had  influence  not  only  in  the  city  but  also 
in  the  county,  although  it's  harder  to  influence  sheriffs  and  their 
police  work  than  it  is  municipal  policemen  and  chiefs  and  their 
police  work.  Vollmer  was  a  great  authority  on  how  to  improve  rural 
police.  He  had  ideas  and  wrote  about  how  to  improve  Jails.  One  of 
the  things  that  he  was  very  familiar  with  and  introduced  and  popu 
larized  in  this  country  was  that  our  police  system  was  derived  from 
England  and  we  brought  over  to  this  country,  lock,  stock  and  barrel, 
the  English,  the  Anglo-Saxon,  common  law  basic  ideas  of  how  to  or 
ganize  police.  Yet,  the  English  were  far  ahead  in  reorganizing  their 
police  departments  and  doing  away  in  the  middle  of  the  19th  century 
with  the  sheriff  as  a  significant  law  enforcement  officer  in  rural 
areas  and  replacing  him  with  a  much  more  professionally  oriented  rural 
police  set-up.  We  in  the  United  States  still  cling  to  the  elective 
sheriff  as  a  law  enforcement  officer  long  after  the  country  from 
which  we  borrowed  the  institution  has  recognized  it  as  an  anachronism. 

Vollmer,  I  remember,  used  the  English  model  for  nationwide  setting 
of  standards  for  both  urban  and  rural  police  departments  and  enforc 
ing  these  standards  through  grants-in-aid  from  the  National  Treasury 
to  help  pay  for  the  costs  of  local  police  administration  based  on  the 
local  police  administration  living  up  to  the  standards  and  based  on  a 
periodic  review  of  their  performance.  He  used  this  English  develop 
ment  as  a  basis  for  calling  the  desirability  of  similar  developments 
in  the  United  States  to  the  attention  of  American  police  officials 
and  political  leaders.  From  that  point  of  view  Vollmer  was  always 
interested  in  the  development  of  a  state  police  system  and  he  had  me  do 
a  great  deal  of  research  for  him  on  the  origins  and  the  development 
of  state  police  systems,  state  highway  patrols.  He  also  had  a  man 
who  did  a  great  deal  of  writing  in  the  police  field,  a  man  called 
Alfred  Parker,  who  started  out  by  being  a  teacher  in  the  Berkeley 
High  School  I  think  but  who  developed  an  interest  in  writing  and  who 
wrote  a  couple  of  books  on  police,  state  police  and  police  administration 


Chernin:  with  the  encouragement  and  help  of  August  Vollmer. 

Vollner  had  this  kind  of  state  influence  on  the  development  of 
police.  I  can't  recall  what  relationship  and  activities  Vollmer 
actually  had  with  the  FBI.   I  may  have  known  that  and  he  must  have 
had  some  but  I  can't  remember  that  with  any  accuracy.  My  own 
scepticism  about  the  FBI  and  my  own  tendency  to  try  to  avoid  being 
taken  in  by  the  massive  propaganda  of  that  outfit  may  have  come 
from  my  relationship  with  Vollmer  and  whatever  he  may  have  told 
me  about  the  reality  of  the  FBI  performance,  etc.,  but  I'm  not  sure 
of  that. 

JRH:  But  wasn't  he  supposed  to  have  some  influence  on  some  of  the  ideas 
Hoover  may  have  used  in  setting  up  the  FBI? 

Chernin:  That  may  have  been,  because  Vollmer  had  some  very  good  ideas.  The 
FBI's  idea  that  their  men  ought  to  be  college-trained  and  either 
lawyers  or  accountants,  etc.  would  have  been  consonant  with  Vollmer 's 
idea  of  adequate  training  for  specialized  police  investigators.  One 
of  the  things  that  I  now  recall  that  Vollmer  was  very  influential  in 
was  the  development  of  scientific  criminal  investigation  and  the  use 
of  science,  biological  and  physical  and  chemical,  to  aid  in  the 
investigation  and  detection  of  crime.  He  did  this  through  his  close 
association  with  a  man  called  Heinrich  who  developed  into  probably 
one  of  the  best  known  scientific  police  investigators  and  lab  men  in 
the  United  States.  This  was  closely  associated  with  Vollmer 's 
knowledge  of  and  interest  in  the  application  of  science  to  the  in 
vestigation  of  crime.  Vollmer' s  reputation  in  this  area  probably 
actually  exceeds  the  reality  of  the  application  of  science  to  the 
investigation  of  crime  because  this  is  something  which  the  public 
eagerly  bought  which  was  highly  publicized  by  newspapers  and  magazines 
and  articles,  which  lends  itself  to  Sunday  supplements.   I  remember 
there  are  lots  of  anecdotes  about  people  and  crimes  that  are  solved 
and  it  has  a  fascinating  interest  for  scientific  writers.  Vollmer 
was  serious  in  his  belief  that  science  could  be  and  should  be  applied 
to  criminal  investigation  and  I  suspect  that  this  too  is  one  of  the 
areas  in  which  he  made  a  very  significant  contribution  to  the  devel 
opment  of  police  administration. 

Question:  You  asked  how  did  Vollmer  related  to  the  people  with  whom 
he  dealt  with  on  a  frequent  and  close  basis.  I  think  I've  said  more 
or  less  most  of  what  I  can  recall  here. 

JRH:  You  didn't  mention  anything  about  activities  on  a  state  level. 

Chernin:  He  must  have  been  very  influential  with  men  like  Earl  Warren  (formerly 
District  Attorney  of  Alameda  County,  then  Attorney  General  of 
California,  Governor  of  California  and  Chief  Justice  of  the  U.S. 
Supreme  Court )  whom  he  must  have  known  very  well . 

JRH:  During  the  time  you  were  working  for  him  you  don't  recall  his  meeting 
with  Warren  or  anything  like  that? 


Chernin:   I  don't  recall  it  specifically  but  I  do  recall  that  he  must  have 
done  this  because  in  the  first  place  Warren's  terms  as  District 
Attorney  of  Alameda  County  must  have  overlapped  in  some  way  with 
Vollmer's  functioning  as  a  police  chief.  I'm  not  sure  about  the 
dates.  The  other  thing  is  that  at  one  time  in  this  period,  we 
organized  under  the  Bureau  cf  Public  Administration  in  the  Political 
Science  Dept.  teaching  in  the  area  of  the  administration  of  criminal 
Justice  and  there  developed  a  seminar  on  the  administration  of 
criminal  Justice  which  for  many  years  was  taught  by  many  different 
people  being  brought  in  to  participate.  For  awhile  Professor  May 
or  someone  taught  this  seminar  and  August  Vollmer  would  participate 
in  the  police  part  of  it  and  Earl  Warren,  who  was  then  District 
Attorney  of  Alameda  County,  would  come  in  for  two  or  three  sessions 
relating  to  the  prosecution  function  in  the  administration  of 
criminal  Justice.   I'm  sure  that  there  must  have  been  very  signifi 
cant  influence  that  Vollmer  had  with  Warren  and  perhaps  other  gover 
nors.   I'm  almost  certain  that  Vollmer  had  a  very  great  deal  to  do 
and  influence  in  the  development  of  the  Division  of  Criminal  Identi 
fication  and  Investigation,  the  statewide  bureau  of  criminal  investi 
gation  and  identification  in  the  state  and  the  development  of  a 
statewide  police  communications  system  which  we  still  have,  and  in 
the  development  of  the  state  criminal  records  system,  lie  must  have 
had  influence  on  the  activity  in  these  areas  because  for  example  I 
know  that  the  man  who  became  the  head  of  the  Criminal  Investigation 
Division,  George  Brereton,  was  a  man  who  had  his  start  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department  and  must  have  had  a  good  deal  of  his  career  in 
fluenced  by  Vollmer  with  whom  he  served  and  studied  and  who  probably 
brought  him  to  the  attention  of  the  authorities.  His  influence  in 
the  state  must  have  been  very  great. 

Evidently  one  thing  that  was  very  interesting  in  Vollmer's  career  is 
the  fact  that  he  became  one  of  the  great  police  analysts.  He  became 
a  great  authority  on  making  police  surveys  and  he  went  all  over  the 
United  States  surveying  municipal  police  departments,  analyzing  their 
problems  and  making  suggestions  for  their  reform.   I  remember  the 
reports  he  wrote,  copies  of  which  he  would  put  in  libraries  which 
became  the  origins  of  police  textbooks.  His  police  survey  techniques 
and  the  kinds  of  principles  he  applied  in  formulating  and  diagnosing 
the  problems  of  municipal  police  departments  and  in  making  recommen 
dations  for  their  improvement  were  the  fundamental  bases  out  of  which 
the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  and  the  International 
City  Managers'  Association  produced  a  series  of  textbooks  in  munici 
pal  administration.  Their  textbook  on  police  administration  which 
became  a  bible  and  still  is  I  think  for  police  administrators,  really 
had  its  origin  in  the  kinds  of  police  survey  techniques  and  principles 
that  Vollmer  developed  and  that  people  like  John  Holstrom  used. 
John  told  me  recently  that  he  had  learned  how  to  do  these  police 
surveys  from  Vollmer  and  that  he  now  in  some  sense  has  taken  Vollmer's 
place  in  making  these  surveys.  Certainly  O.W.  Wilson,  who  had  been 
Chief  of  Police  in  Wichita,  Kansas  and  who  started  in  Berkeley,  was 
for  many  years  the  Dean  of  our  School  of  Criminology  on  the  Berkeley 
campus,  must  have  learned  the  technique  of  police  surveys  from  Vollmer 

Chernin:  and  applied  them  so  that  he  too  is  known  for  the  number  of  police 
surveys  that  he  made. 

As  a  result  of  this,  in  the  20' s,  I'm  not  sure  what  the  date  was, 
Vollmer  was  asked  to  come  down  and  survey  the  Los  Angeles  Police 
Dept.  at  a  time  when  it  was  steeped  in  corruption.  This  police 
corruption  stemmed  from  the  fact  that  the  Mayor's  office  of  Los 
Angeles  was  corrupt  and  the  police  department  there  had  developed 
a  kind  of  close  political  domination  and  corruption  which  is  often 
associated  with  a  political  mayor  and  the  incursion  of  vice  and 
gambling  interests  into  a  metropolitan  police  force.  Vollmer  went 
down  there  and  did  the  survey  of  the  L.A.  Police  Dept.  and  became, 
for  awhile,  the  acting  Chief  of  Police  of  L.A.  I  remember  him 
telling  me  that  he  was  framed  down  there.  The  gambling  and  vice 
interests  deliberately  tried  to  frame  him  with  a  woman,  to  make  a 
scandal  so  that  he  would  be  driven  out  of  town  and  they  could  des 
troy  the  reforms  that  he  had  recommended  and  had  instituted.  This 
didn't  vork  and  the  fact  is  that  the  Los  Angeles  Police  Department 
even  to  this  day  remains  among  the  most  professional,  efficient  and 
honest  police  departments  because  of  Vollmer 's  reforms.  He  insti 
tuted  a  civil  service  system  of  selection  and  promotion  that  ex 
tended  upward,  even  to  the  Chief  of  Police.  This  stemmed  directly 
from  recommendations  that  Vollmer  made  of  how  one  should  go  about 
taking  a  corrupt  police  department  and  making  it  into  a  very  ef 
ficient  police  department.  He  had  similar  influences  on  many  of  the 
police  departments  of  the  world  and  it  was  on  this  basis  that  he  had 
developed  an  international  reputation  because  of  his  surveys.   I 
remember  distinctly  that  he  did  a  survey  of  the  Honolulu  Police 
Department . 

August  Vollmer  was  married;  we  knew  his  wife.  His  wife  died  before 
August  Vollmer  did.  He  didn't  have  any  children.  He  did  have  a 
niece,  who  was,  I  believe,  the  daughter  of  his  brother.   I  can't 
remember  very  much  about  the  niece  except  that  I  do  know  that  she 
came  up  in  our  conversations.   I  don't  remember  having  met  her  but 
she  did  have  some  meaning  for  Vollmer.  This  may  be  why  he  enjoyed 
the  company  of  young  students  so  much  because  they  filled  a  need  in 
a  person's  life  —  to  be  related  to  younger  people.  He  was  a  very 
hospitable  man  in  that  regard. 

I  also  remember  now  an  anecdote  about  Vollmer  that  I  think  has  some 
significance.  For  many  years  August  Vollmer  had  problems  that  all 
great  men  have  and  that  is,  he  was  Just  flooded  with  invitations 
to  speak,  serve  on  committees,  to  sponsor  worthy  causes,  to  appear 
at  all  kinds  of  events  on  every  level  of  the  community  and  on  the 
state  and  national  levels.  He  had  a  very  interesting  way  of  coping 
with  this  flood  of  demands  on  his  time.  Sometime  before  I  got  to 
know  him  and  all  through  our  relationship,  Vollmer  was  supposed  to 
have  been  convalescing  from  a  heart  condition  and  it  was  widely 
known  that  he  was  a  man  who  had  had  a  heart  attack,  was  convalescing 
under  a  doctor's  care,  and  he  had  to  be  careful.  He  used  this  par 
ticular  condition  as  an  acceptable  screening  device  for  turning 
down  most  of  the  things  that  sheer  volume  forced  him  to  turn  down. 


Chernin:  He  could  be  very  selective  and  do  the  sorts  of  things  and  Join  the 
sorts  of  organizations,  attend  the  sort  of  meetings,  give  the  sort 
of  speeches  etc.  that  he  wanted  to.  He  could  turn  down  all  the 
others  in  an  acceptable  and  perfectly  sociable  way  which  left  the 
requester  with  the  impression  of  his  graciousness  and  interest, 
but  that  he  couldn't  do  it.  He  had  his  own  value  system  as  to  what 
he  wanted  to  do  and  what  he  didn't  want  to  do.  The  reason  I  mention 
this  is  that  rather  late  in  our  relationship  I  noticed  that  Vollmer 
had  taken  to  smoking  again  because  for  many  years  he  didn't  smoke. 
I  used  to  smoke  and  I  had  asked  him  whether  he  had  ever  smoked  and 
he  said  yes,  he  smoked  a  great  deal  but  when  he  had  this  heart  attack 
they  told  him  that  he  had  better  lay  off  smoking  and  drinking  and  he 
had  done  so.  Then  I  asked  him  about  it  because  I  noted  that  he  had 
started  smoking  again.  He  smoked  small  cigars,  and  he  laughed  and 
said,  well,  I  just  decided  that  I'm  well  enough  now  to  indulge 
mildly  in  a  habit;  that  I  like  to  smoke  and  I  don't  do  it  in  excess. 
I  had  the  impression  then  that  maybe  his  heart  condition  had  not 
actually  been  so  serious  as  I  had  always  assumed  it  was  and  that  he 
had  developed  this  very  nice  way  of  coping  with  one  of  the  great 
problems  of  the  well-known  and  of  the  great  in  an  acceptable  way. 

I  think  I  ought  to  mention  the  most  enigmatic  thing  about  Vollmer 
is  how  he  died  by  his  own  hand  and  about  circumstances  I  don't  know 
in  detail  except  that  after  he  lost  his  wife  he  was  obviously  a 
lonely  man.  He  lived  in  his  house  on  Euclid  Ave.  in  Berkeley  and 
we  went  to  visit  him.  He  had  a  very  nice  house  on  the  upper  hilly 
side  of  Euclid  Avenue.  His  study  was  on  the  basement  floor  and  he 
would  receive  people  there.  He  had  a  housekeeper,  but  towards  the 
end  when  we  went  to  visit  him  it  was  obvious  that  he  was  lonely; 
that  his  social  life  probably  wasn't  very  great.  Then  he  developed 
this  incurable  illness.   I  don't  recall  what  it  was.   I  think  it 
may  have  been  some  form  of  cancer  and  probably  towards  the  end  of 
his  life  he  was  in  great  pain  although  he  never  shared  this  with  a 
person  like  myself.  As  is  known  he  shot  himself.  This  has  always 
been  sort  of  puzzling  to  me  because  I  don't  think  as  a  person  I 
have  sorted  out  my  own  feelings  about  suicide.  Not  that  I  have  any 
religious  scruples  about  it  at  all,  because  I  don't,  but  of  course 
it  was  very  regretful  that  this  great  man  came  to  a  premature  end. 
I  guess  I  really  end  up  by  admiring  the  courage  of  the  man  because 
I  think  it  takes  a  great  deal  of  courage  to  end  one's  own  life. 
I  probably  wouldn't  have  such  courage. I  guess  in  a  sense  I've 
developed  the  view  that  this  was  one  last  aspect  of  the  greatness  of 
this  man  in  coping  with  problems  and  coming  to  their  solutions. 
In  our  society  in  which  suicide  is  frowned  upon  it  also  meant  that 
his  end  in  some  ways  was  a  bit  of  a  cloud  on  his  reputation.  I 
mention  it  because  I'm  sure  there  are  other  people  who  will  and  I 
wanted  to  note  that  if  sometime  or  other  Vollmer  gets  an  adequate 
biographer,  who  will  write  a  book  explaining  his  life  the  way  it 
ought  to  be  done,  he  will  have  to  cope  with  this  particular  problem 
of  how  this  great  man,  and  his  great  life  came  to  an  end. 


JRH:     Are  there  other  people  who  would  give  a  different  perspective  on 
his  life? 

Chernin:      If  Mrs.   Muriel  Herock  Hunter  is  still  around,  and  if  you  haven't 
interviewed  her  you  should.     She  was  his  secretary  for  about  5  or 
6  years  during  the  sane  period  I  was  in  his  service.     The  last  I 
knew  of  her,   she  was  the  social  worker  on  the  staff  of  the  Alameda- 
Contra  Costa  Medical  Assocation  with  offices  on  Piedmont  Avenue 
near  College.      She  may  have  retired  by  now.     She  would  give  you  a 
glimpse  of  him  from  the  view  of  a  secretary  and  a  close  friend. 

Eric  BeLkjuist,  Professor  of  Political  Science,  is  still  here.     He 
certainly  knew  him  because  Eric  and  I  were  friends  at  the  time 
when  I  worked  with  Vollmer.      I  don't  know  how  much  he  would  know. 


liiDEX  —  Milton  S.    Chernin 

Adler,   Herman,     1 

Alameda  Covmty  Superior  Court ,     10 

Bellquist,  Eric,     16 
Berkeley,  city  of,     10-11 

marshal,     7 

police  department,  6,  8-10 

records  systems ,  2 

California,  state  of 

Division  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  13 

Highway  Patrol,  9-11* 

state  police  system,  11 
Chernin,  Milton 

research  and  other  work  for  Vollmer,  2 
Coordinating  Council,  11 

Dickson,  Virgil,  11 
Elk's  Club,  2 

Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation  (FBI),  12 
Fuller,  Hugh,  1 

Heinrich,  E.  0.,  12 

Holstrom,  John,  2,  13 

Honolulu  Police  Department  survey,  lU 

Hoover,  J.  Edgar,  12 

Hunter,  Muriel  Herock,  3,  l6 

International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  8,  13 
International  City  Managers  Association,  13 

Leonard,  Victor,  2 

Los  Angeles,  city  of,  lU 

civil  service  system,  lU 

police  department,  lb 

scandal,  I1* 

May,  Professor  Samuel  C. ,  13 

Oakland  Civil  Service  Commission,  10 

Parker,  Alfred,  11 
Peel,  Sir  Robert,  5,  8 
police  procedures,  2,  U-6,  8-9 
psychiatrists ,  U 


Rockefeller  Foundation,  1 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley 

Bureau  of  Public  Administration,  1,  13 

fraternities,  7 

Political  Science  Department,  if  13 

School  of  Criminology,  13 

South  Hall,  1,  3 
University  of  Chicago,  6 

Vollmer,  August,  passim 

heart  condition,  lU-15 

innovations ,     U ,  8-9 

personality,  2-k 

professional  impact,     8-13 

suicide,     15 

teaching  at  University  of  California  at  Berkeley, 

Warren,   Earl,     12-13 
Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,     6,  13 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/ Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 

General  William  Dean 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


William  Dean,  born  in  1899,  vas  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part  of 
a  series  on  August  Vollmer.  Major  General  Dean  brings  the  perspective  of 
a  man  who  served  under  Vollmer  only  as  a  "college  cop,"  but  who  carried  out 
Vollmer  principles  in  a  very  distinguished  military  career. 


Time  and  Setting  of 
the  Interview: 


Jane  Howard 

One  interview  was  conducted  with  General  Dean  on 
July  8,  1971,  in  his  Berkeley  Hills  home.  The  inter 
view  began  around  10:30  a.m.  and  concluded  at  approxi 
mately  noon. 

Initial  editing  of  the  transcript  was  done  by 

Jane  Howard;  corrections  in  grammar  and  paragraphing 

were  made. 

Narrative  Account 
of  General  Dean 
and  the  Progress 
of  the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard  and  General  Dean  held  an  editing  session 
on  January  22,  1972.  At  this  time  General  Dean  dic 
tated  extensive  changes  in  the  interview.  The  changes 
made  were  largely  directed  at  improving  style  and 
grammar.  General  Dean  also  eliminated  a  fairly  long 
discussion  of  John  Larson's  contributions  to  the  . 
Berkeley  Police  Department  and  a  number  of  comments  on 
other  ex-Berkeley  police  officers. 

Major  General  Dean  was  born  in  1899  in  Carlyle,  Illinois. 
He  graduated  from  the  University  of  California  at 
Berkeley  in  1922.  During  his  years  at  Berkeley,  he 
served  (from  October  1,  1921  to  November  15,  1923)  as 
a  Berkeley  Police  Department  "college  cop"  on  the 
graveyard  shift. 

General  Dean  resigned  to  accept  a  commission  as  a 
second  lieutenant  in  the  Army.   He  rose  through  the 
ranks  to  become  Military  Governor  of  South  Korea  in 
1952.  He  was  awarded  the  Congressional  Medal  of  Honor 
after  his  service  in  Korea. 

General  Dean  is  now  retired  and  now  active  with  Boy 
Scouts  of  America. 


William  Dean  (contd. ) 

The  interview  begins  with  Dean's  explanation  of  how 
he  came  to  work  for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 
He  discusses  Vollmer's  principles,  particularly  his 
emphasis  on  preventing  rather  than  Judging  crimes. 
He  compares  Vollmer  to  General  Me Arthur  and  Marshall. 
He  talks  about  the  salary  and  benefits  in  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  in  the  1920' s. 

General  Dean  continues,  with  examples  of  Vollmer's 
foresight:  "college  cops",  school  boy  patrols,  radio 
communication,  the  State  Bureau  of  Identification 
and  Investigation,  modus  operandi.  The  General  then 
recalls  his  continuing  contacts  with  Vollmer  over  the 
years,  and  tells  an  anecdote  on  how  the  fact  that  he 
had  worked  with  Vollmer  served  to  improve  his  relation 
with  the  Japanese  National  Police  force  when  he  was 
part  of  the  Occupation  Forces  after  World  War  II. 

He  discusses  Vollmer's  integrity  and  his  influence  on 
his  own  life.   He  discusses  some  basic  Vollmer 
principles  that  he  carried  into  his  military  career. 

General  Dean  recalls  Vollmer's  application  of  his  ideas 
to  the  solution  of  burglary  problems,  and  remembers  he 
was  one  of  the  earliest  people  to  recommend  treatment , 
rather  than  punishment,  of  drug  addiction. 

On  questioning,  Dean  recollects  that  Vollmer  fought 
efforts  of  the  Klu  KLux  Klan  to  organize  in  Berkeley, 
and  that  he  and  Earl  Warren  worked  together  with  mutual 

The  interview  concludes  with  mention  of  letters  received 
from  Vollmer  by  Dean  during  his  captivity  in  Korea  and 
with  comments  on  drug  and  fraternity  problems  in  the 
1920' s. 

Jane  Howard 

Interview  with  Major  General  William  F.  Dean,  July  8,  1971. 

JRH:   How  did  you  first  get  to  Know  August  Vollmer? 

Dean:  When,  on  July  19 »  1921,  I  Joined  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 

JRH:   How  did  you  get  recruited  to  the  force? 

Dean:   I  saw  in  the  paper  that  they  were  giving  intelligence  tests  to 
Berkeley  students  who  had  to  be  at  least  seniors  and  who  would 
like  to  go  into  the  Berkeley  Police  Department.   So  I  went 
down  and  took  the  examination  and  was  informed  that  I  had  passed 
and  was  on  the  list. 

That  summer  I  was  working  up  at  the  Hetch  Hetchy  San  Francisco 
Water  Project  and  I  received  a  telephone  call  from  my  parents 
that  I  was  to  report  to  the  Berkeley  Police  if  I  wanted  the 
Job,  so  I  reported  to  Berkeley  and  took  a  physical,  and  passing 
that. .. .There  were  four  of  us  —  Taylor,  myself,  Thayer,  and  one 
other  whose  name  I've  forgotten. 

We  were  sworn  in  by  August  Vollmer  himself.  We'd  met  him  and 
learned  to  respect  and  admire  him  as  a  man  and  in  the  work  he 
was  doing.  The  papers  publicized  everything  he  did.  When  you 
met  the  man,  he  had  the  qualities  of  two  other  men  I've  known: 
George  Marshall  and  Douglas  MacArthur.  All  three  had  the 
capacity  to  look  through  you  and  you'd  think  they  knew  exactly 
what  you  were  thinking.  You  didn't  feel  uncomfortable  but  you 
felt  you'd  better  not  try  to  tell  anything  but  the  whole  truth 
when  you  spoke  to  them.  August  Vollmer  Just  mesmerized  you; 
at  least  he  did  me. 

When  we  reported  for  work, we  didn't  have  a  training  school  in 
those  days,  we  were  sent  out  for  two  or  three  days  with  a 
patrolman  on  the  beat  and  then  when  the  patrolman  thought  that 
you  were  okay ,  you  were  put  on  a  beat .  But ,  before  we  were  put 
on  a  beat,  August  Vollmer  talked  to  us.   He  impressed  me  so  much 
then;  he  said  that  we  should  remember  as  police  officers  we  are 
not  the  court.   "You're  not  to  Judge  people;  you're  Just  to 
report  what  they  do  wrong.  Better  still,  you  can  prevent  people 
from  doing  wrong;  that's  the  mission  of  a  policeman."  He  also 
stated:  "I'll  admire  you  more  if  in  the  first  year  you  don't 
make  a  single  arrest.   I'm  not  Judging  you  on  arrests.   I'm 
Judging  you  on  how  many  people  you  keep  from  doing  something 
wrong.  Remember  you're  almost  a  father-confessor;  you're  to 
listen  to  people,  you're  to  advise  them,  you  may  be  called  in 
on  marital  difficulties  and  you  go  in  and  do  your  best.  This 
will  always  be  a  thankless  Job  because  both  sides  will  be  against 
you."  He  gave  us  an  insight  into  police  work  we  hadn't  had. 

Dean:  He  said,  "Whatever  you  do,  don't  bawl  a  person  out.  Tell  them 
they're  doing  wrong,  but  don't  bawl  them  out.  Don't  raise 
your  voice,  because  you  can't  punish  them  yourself.  That's  not 
your  mission;  your  mission  is  to  protect  and  safeguard  the 
property  and  the  lives  of  the  citizens." 

He  stressed  this  policy  and  we  knew  he  meant  it.  He  didn't  mean 
by  that  that  if  someone  were  committing  a  crime  we  didn't  step 
in  and  arrest  him,  but  that  we  could  not  Just  make  arrests  for 
arrest's  sake.  Re  stated  all  this  so  much  more  clearly  than  I 
have  here,  but  that  was  his  creed  and  he  lived  by  it.  He  didn't 
push  anyone  because  he  had  not  made  more  arrests  than  his  fellow 
officers.  Word  got  back  to  him  whether  or  not  you  were  following 
out  his  policy,  not  by  hired  spies,  but  people  would  tell  him  and 
he'd  call  you  in  and  say,  "I  hear  you  did  so-and-so  and  I  like 
that"  or,  in  another  case,  he'd  say,  "You  were  a  little  rough  with 
so-and-so,"  and  he'd  say,  "Explain  to  me,  tell  me  how  it  was."  He 
was  understanding,  tolerant  and  inspirational. 

JRH:  What  was  the  population  of  Berkeley  in  those  days? 
Dean:  85,000,  as  I  recall. 

JRH:  Quite  a  number  of  people  even  then.  People  would  still  call  and 
tell  him  how  things  were  going? 

Dean:  Everybody  knew  him.  He  was  living  at  the  Elk's  Club  at  the  time 
when  I  was  on  the  force. 

Somebody  once  ran  a  stop  sign.  They  put  the  first  traffic  light 
in  right  after  I  left  Berkeley,  located  at  San  Pablo  and  University. 
San  Pablo  was  like  the  freeway  then  because  freeways  were  a  dream 
of  the  future.   I  stopped  this  individual  and  he  pulled  a  press 
badge.   I  was  Just  pioing  to  warn  him.  He  said  he  had  a  press  badge 
and  I  said  that,  "That  makes  no  difference,  you're  endangering 
lives  and  there's  no  story  that  hot."  He  said,  "I'm  a  good  friend 
of  August  Vollmer."  "Oh,"  I  said,  "If  that's  the  case  the  Chief 
wouldn't  like  it  if  I  didn't  take  you  down  and  book  you."  So  I 
booked  him.  The  Chief  called  me  in  and  said  that  was  Just  the 
thing  to  do.  He  said  that  if  anybody  says  he's  one  of  my  personal 
friends,  you  Just  tell  them  that  my  personal  friends  don't  do  that, 
then  you  do  what  you  think  is  right. 

That's  the  kind  of  a  man  Vollmer  was.  He  was  a  man  of  the  highest 
integrity;  he  was  thinking  of  his  responsibility,  not  his  own 
personal  glorification.  He  was  thinking  all  the  time  of  adding  to 
the  prestige  of  the  police  profession.   If  anyone  had  to  have  an 
education  it  must  be  a  police  officer.  He  must  have  an  education 
and  he  must  be  paid  accordingly. 

When  I  went  on  the  force  in  July  1921,  we  got  $170  a  month  and  $30 
for  the  use  of  our  car.   You  made  out  on  that  because  you  got  all 
your  oil  and  gas  and  the  use  of  that  car.  You  didn't  get  service  or 

Dean:   insurance.   I  bought  a  brand  new  Model  T  Ford,  five  passenger, 
and  it  cost  me  $1*15.00  with  everything  except  a  self-starter. 

JRH:  Can  you  compare  your  salary  to  say  a  plumber  or  an  electrician? 

Dean:  We  made  more  than  a  plumber  did  at  that  time.  Engineers  getting 
out  of  college  went  to  work  for  $90  a  month.  It  was  an  out 
standing  wage.  Young  lawyers  were  graduating  and  working  for 
coffee  and  doughnuts  the  first  years  and  here  we  were  going  to 
school  and  getting  paid.  August  Vollmer  said  we  were  on  duty 
for  2U  hours  a  day  so  the  city  furnished  our  oil  and  gas  for  the 
entire  2U  hour  period.   So  during  your  time  off  you  were  riding 
on  city  gas  and  oil  but,  as  Vollmer  said,  "I  expect  you  to  be  on 
duty  continuously.   If  you  see  any  transgressions,  don't  look  the 
other  way  because  you  don't  have  your  uniform  on." 

The  Chief  always  seemed  to  know  what  was  happening  in  Berkeley 
and  if  an  officer  happened  to  be  present  when  an  incident  occurred 
in  which  the  Chief  felt  the  officer  should  have  taken  action  as  a 
police  officer,  despite  the  officer's  not  being  in  uniform,  he'd 
call  that  officer  in  and  explain  he  had  failed  in  his  duties. 

I  especially  admired  Aup^ist  Vollmer  because  of  his  foresight;  he 
was  always  thinking  ahead  and  of  the  future  role  of  the  police 
officer.  Just  prior  to  recruiting  John  Larson,  originator  of  the 
lie  detector,  he  brought  in  Walter  Gordon  as  the  first  U.C.  student 
as  a  full-time  police  officer  while  he  was  still  a  student  in 
Boalt  Hall.  The  experience  of  the  Department  with  these  two  men, 
Walter  Gordon  and  John  Larson,  as  full  time  officers  concurrent 
with  their  academic  work  to  obtain  a  J.D.  and  a  Ph.D.  respectively, 
was  so  successful  that  August  Vollmer  initiated  his  "college 
cops"  program.  Bill  Wiltberger,  Orlando  Wilson,  George  Brereton, 
Clarence  Taylor,  Henry  Hoar,  Kenneth  Thayer  followed  Gordon  and 

Another  thing  I  would  like  to  mention  about  August  Vollmer  is  that 
he  was  the  initiator  of  the  State  Bureau  of  Identification  located 
in  Sacramento.  The  first  man  that  went  up  to  organize  it  was  one 
of  Vollaer's  officers  that  left  Berkeley  to  take  this  Job  shortly 
before  I  Joined  the  force. 

August  Vollmer  also  established  one  of  the  earliest  school  boy 
traffic  patrols.   It  was  established  either  in  early  1923  or  late 
1922.   I  have  lived  in  other  cities  that  claim  to  have  an  earlier 
patrol,  but  I  do  not  personally  know  of  any  established  prior  to 
that  date.   In  any  event,  I  believe  that  the  school  boy  traffic 
patrol  is  a  great  opportunity  for  boys  to  learn  real  responsibility 
and  develop  leadership.  And,  best  of  all,  it  teaches  their  peers 
to  obey  constituted  authority. 

When  I  Joined  the  force,  August  Vollmer  was  intent  on  establishing 
a  radio  communication  system.   He  hoped  to  have  direct  communication 
to  each  officer  via  radio,  and  he  also  hoped  later  to  make  it  a 

Dean:  two  way  system.  When  I  left  the  department,  November  15,  1923, 
his  dream  had  not  been  fully  realized,  but  he  did  have  a  pilot 
vehicle  that  was  able  to  receive  signals  from  the  station. 

But  in  the  meantime,  he  was  one  of  the  first  police  chiefs  to 
institute  the  Garaewell  red  light  system.  This  consisted  of  red 
lights  at  major  intersections  throughout  the  city  and  some  up  on 
the  hills  that  could  be  seen  from  most  places  within  the  city. 
Police  officers  on  the  street  would  go  to  the  nearest  Gamewell 
box  and  call  the  desk.   If  you  didn't  answer  the  light  within 
three  minutes,  you  had  to  write  a  report  why  you  didn't.  This 
was  an  excellent  method  for  getting  the  officer  to  the  scene 
of  the  crime  or  incident  expeditiously.  They  didn't  have  radios 
and  it  wasn't  until  several  years  later  they  had  crystal.  I'm 
talking  about  1921  to  1923. 

JRH:  They  signaled  you  from  where? 

Dean:   If  you'll  look  down  Shattuck  there  is  a  light  between  Shattuck 
and  Vine  right  in  the  middle  of  the  street,  real  high.  There's 
one  at  Shattuck  and  Cedar;  Shattuck  and  University;  Shattuck  and 
Bancroft;  Shattuck  and  Dwlght,  etc.  You  go  down  Telegraph,  it's 
the  same  way, almost  the  same  intersections.   Some  up  on  the  hill 
we  could  see.   Sacramento  the  same  way;  San  Pablo  and  Uth  Street 
the  same  way,  etc.  They  were  in  quadrants  so  if  they  wanted  an 
officer  in  that  quadrant  the  light  would  Just  go  on  in  that 
quadrant.   If  you  wanted  a  particular  officer,  and  not  particu 
larly  in  an  emergency,  each  officer  had  his  number.   If  it  went 
on  steady  in  one  section  they  wanted  every  officer  in  that  quad 
rant,  which  was  usually  one  officer.  If  they  all  went  on  every 
body  rushed  to  the  Gamewell  box.  There  was  a  Gamewell  box  at 
all  these  places.  There  are  still  boxes  at  many  of  those  places. 
There's  one  at  Dwlght  and  Warring. 

JRK:  What  about  after  you  left  the  department?  Did  you  stay  in  touch 
with  Vollmer? 

Dean:  When  I  left  the  Department  the  Chief  was  on  a  year's  sabbatical 
reorganizing  the  Los  Angeles  Police  Department.  Soon  after 
leaving  I  received  a  letter  from  him  in  which  he  expressed  his 
regret  that  I  had  given  up  police  work  in  favor  of  the  military, 
but  stating  that  when  I  tired  of  the  military  he  would  have  a 
place  for  me  in  Berkeley. 

Then,  a  couple  of  years  later  after  he  had  returned  to  Berkeley 
and  I  happened  to  be  home  on  leave  I  called  to  pay  my  respects. 
During  this  visit  he  said,  "How  about  resigning  from  the  Amy; 
they  want  a  Chief  in  a  small  town  (it  was  Burlingame).   I'm 
certain  if  I  recommend  you  the  position  will  be  yours.  You've 
had  a  taste  of  army  life,  how  about  trying  police  work  again?" 
I  was  quite  flattered  naturally. 

Then  there  was  a  time  he  wrote  and  asked  me,  after  he  had  retired 
and  was  establishing  the  School  of  Criminology,  asking  if  I  had 

Dean:  any  ideas  on  courses  that  should  be  prerequisite  for  the  School 
of  Criminology.  What  courses  I  thought  had  helped  me  with  my 
police  work  more  than  any  other.  I  gave  my  view*  on  that. 

I  never  came  back  on  leave  that  I  didn't  see  him,  either  at  the 
Police  Department  or  the  University.  He  alvays  had  time  to  see 
me.  He  amazed  me  once  when  he  and  his  wife  were  coming  through 
and  he  called  me  from  Salt  Lake  City.  He  had  that  personal  touch 
with  every  officer,  and  if  an  officer  made  a  mistake  he  didn't 
crucify  him.   He  felt  that  if  that  officer  had  anything  in  him  he 
gave  him  support  and  help.  He  never  stood  in  an  officer's  way. 
Many  of  the  officers  he  would  have  liked  to  have  stay  in  the 
department,  if  they  had  a  chance  for  a  better  position,  he  en 
couraged  it  and  made  it  possible.  For  instance,  O.W.  Wilson  was 
first  down  in  southern  California,  then  at  Wichita. 

Now  I  mentioned  the  traffic  police.  That  was  his  idea,  to  show 
you  how  versatile  he  was.   He  was  thinking  in  all  ways.   He  put 
John  Larson  to  work  on  the  single  fingerprint  system.   Some  man 
with  a  Russian  name,  a  convict  over  in  San  Quentin,  came  out  with 
one  Just  before  John  finished  his;  Just  beat  him.   In  fact,  when 
they  set  up  the  Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation,  Hoover  had  a 
graduate  school  and  they  had  two  speakers  back  there  that  year 
who  were  both  from  the  Berkeley  Police  Department.   Hoover  recog 
nized  what  August  Vollmer  had  done.  He  was  so  far  ahead  in,  for 
instance,  M.O.S.  He  was  the  daddy  of  the  modus  operand!. 

After  the  war,  I  was  the  Senior  Officer  of  the  occupation  forces 
on  Okinawa  and  Kyushu  and  they  were  installing  a  new  police  chief 
there  at  Kokura  and  I  was  invited  to  attend  a  dinner  honoring  him. 
They  have  a  national  police  organization  there  and  the  Deputy  Chief 
from  Tokyo  was  there  for  the  occasion.   I  met  him,  and  I  had  to 
say  a  few  words.   I  recalled  that  I  had  been  a  police  officer 
myself  and  had  the  great  privilege  of  serving  with  the  great  pioneer 
in  criminology,  and  the  internationally-known  Vollraer.  After  the 
dinner,  the  Deputy  Chief  came  over  and  said,  "Oh  General,  do  you 
know  that  I've  got  reprints  of  August  Vollmer' s  paper  on  M.O.  and 
it's  required  reading  throughout  the  national  police  department. 
I  spent  six  months  in  your  Berkeley  Police  Department  under 
August  Vollmer  and  there  are  so  many  things  that  I  learned  there 
that  I  have  installed  here."  It  was  so  genuine  and  sincere.   I 
had  met  the  Deputy  Chief  before,  and  he  Just  thought  I  was  one  of 
those  damn  Army  Occupation  people,  but  it  was  a  different  relation 
ship  when  he  heard  I  had  too  served  under  August  Vollmer. 

Dean:   (in  response  to  question  l):  How  you  say,  in  what  capacity  did 

you  work  with  Vollmer?  I  was  a  patrolman  the  whole  time.  Usually 
I  tried  to  be  on  the  12  to  8  a.m.  shift  because  I  had  a  chance 
once  in  awhile  to  get  enough  sleep.   I  was  going  to  school  and 
doing  a  full  eight-hour  shift  and  had  to  appear  in  court  and  so 
on,  and  this  all  took  a  lot  of  time  and  I  needed  my  rest.  When 
they  moved  me  down  to  the  second  shift  from  four  to  eight ,  I 
never  had  a  chance  to  see  my  girl.   I  asked  if  I  couldn't  stay  on 

Dean:  the  midnight  to  eight  in  the  morning  and  the  chap  whose  place  I 
took  was  very  happy  about  it.  Most  of  my  service  was  from 
midnight  to  eight. 

What  effect  did  Vollraer  have upon  your  life?  August  Vollmer  has 
had  a  great  effect  on  my  life.  His  example  of  enthusiasm  for 
his  Job,  his  integrity  and  his  loyalty  to  the  city,  the  mayor, 
his  subordinates,  and  the  citizenry  was  outstanding.  He  epito 
mized  what  I  consider  the  prerequisite  qualities  for  leadership. 
I've  always  felt  and  believed  this,  and  that's  why  I  have  his 
photograph  hanging  up  in  my  study.   I  owe  him  a  great  deal  for 
the  examples  he  set  and  I've  tried  to  follow;  not  well,  but  I've 

General  Dean  (in  response  to  question  2):  What  kind  of  a  man 
was  Vollmer?  How  did  he  impress  you?  I  think  I've  already  told 
you  and  I  know  he  impressed  others.  The  personal  characteristics 
that  made  him  an  influential  man  are  Just  what  I've  said:  integrity, 
loyalty  and  enthusiasm.   You  can't  be  enthusiastic  without  knowing 
your  Job,  that's  what  makes  you  enthusiastic.  Your  enthusiasm 
makes  you  better  with  your  Job  and  being  better  with  your  Job 
makes  you  more  enthusiastic.  They're  part  and  parcel.  Hours 
didn't  mean  anything  to  him.  We  didn't  have  overtime  in  those  days 
and  no  one  resented  it.  We  got  one  day  a  week  off,  but  the  hours 
we  spent  we  didn't  worry  about. 

I  think  we've  answered  questions  are  and  two  and,  as  to  what  was 
Vollmer 's  professional  impact  (question  U),  I  told  you  a  little 
bit  when  I  was  speaking  about  this  Japanese  senior  officer.  One 
of  the  major  ideas  that  comes  with  police  work  that  Vollmer  stood 
for  was  to  study  the  problem  and  react  accordingly.  Even  in  those 
days  he  had  maps  up  for  every  accident  that  occurred,  with  the 
little  pins,  and  he  knew  and  made  us  all  look  at  it  at  the  weekly 
meetings.  We  were  having  more  traffic  accidents  at  the  corner  of 
Allston  and  Milvia  than  any  place  in  town  in  those  days.   He 
wanted  a  study  made  on  how  we  could  improve  this.   He  was  a  pioneer 
in  traffic  safety. 

JRH:  Did  you  carry  over  some  of  his  ideas  into  your  military  career? 

Dean:  Yes,  I  tried  to.  Ee  had  one  which  is  basic  in  the  military  and 
I  really  learned  it  from  him.  Plan  to  have  your  major  forces,  a 
concentration  of  forces,  where  you  want  to  hit.  Don't  dissipate 
your  forces;  don't  try  to  get  every  place. 

We  were  having  people  coming  over  on  the  trains.   I  mean  this  is 
hard  for  you  to  realize,  but  people  didn't  all  travel  by  auto  then. 
There  were  so  few  automobiles  that  between  certain  hours  — 
between  1  and  3  a.m.  —  if  you  parked  out  in  front  of  your  house 
all  night  without  using  the  garage,  you  got  a  ticket.  You  weren't 

Dean:  permitted  to  park  all  night  on  the  street.  Cars  were  still 
quite  uncommon  in  the  '20's. 

Vollmer  had  a  chart  where  all  the  daylight  burglaries  were.  We 
had  a  great  many  daylight  burglaries  then  because  the  thief  would 
come  over  from  San  Francisco  and  ride  the  train  and  the  street 
cars.  Many  of  the  very  well-to-do  people  who  worked  in  San 
Francisco,  and  now  drive  cars  and  now  live  further  out  in  the 
country,  used  to  take  the  streetcars  and  get  off  at  Benevenue  and 
Hillegass.  There  are  some  beautiful  homes  in  that  area,  but  a 
lot  of  them  are  housing  communes  now.  That ' s  where  the  junior 
executives  and  then  the  big  executives  lived.  Also  thieves  would 
come  up  Claremont  Avenue  and  get  off  and  hit  all  those  homes  up 
in  the  Claremont  District.  They  would  Just  hit  those  areas,  and 
the  stuff  would  be  pawned  in  San  Francisco.  We  knew  they  were 
coming  from  there  and  they  were  taking  those  trains,  getting  off, 
walking  down  and  knocking  over  a  couple  of  houses  and  taking  the 
other  train  home.  He  pulled  people  on  my  shift,  for  instance,  and 
the  burglaries  were  happening  between  one  and  four  so  we  had  to 
ride  our  cars.  We  had  unmarked  cars  and  most  of  us  had  Fords  and 
they  were  suspect  in  themselves ,  but  that ' s  the  way  we  caught  a 
number  of  these  burglars.  Vollmer  had  planned  to  have  a  mobile 
force  that  he  could  use  where  he  needed  it;  he  planned  ahead. 

Vollmer  developed  the  idea  of  drug  addiction  being  an  illness.   He 
said  "Let's  get  them  treated."  This  shows  his  foresight. 

JRH:  We  heard  he  was  very  active  in  fighting  the  Ku  JCLux  KLan  while 
they  were  big  and  that  might  have  been  around  your  time. 

Dean:   I  know  that  they  were  attempting  to  organize  the  KKK  locally  and 

on  one  occasion  the  embryo  KKK  was  scheduled  for  a  meeting.  We  all 
had  to  stand  by.  He  didn't  send  me  when  I  was  off  duty,  but  I 
was  supposed  to  get  up  there  in  civilian  clothes  and  assist  if 
anything  came  up  because  they  were  going  to  have  a  meeting  on 
Cragmont  at  Cragmont  Rock.   I  know  he  was  opposed  to  any  secret 
organization  like  that  that  wanted  to  take  the  law  into  its  own 
hands.  He  was  prepared  for  it  and  I'm  certain  he  discouraged  them. 

JRH:  Do  you  know  anything  about  Earl  Warren?  Warren  apparently  was 

District  Attorney  about  the  time  you  were  here.  Did  he  work  with 

Dean:  Yes.  He  worked  very  closely  with  Vollmer  and  Earl  Warren  handled 

several  cases  that  I  had  preferred  charges  on.   He  was  an  Assistant 
District  Attorney  vhile  I  was  on  the  force.   I  thought  he  had  for 
gotten  me,  because  I  didn't  know  him  well  but  he's  quite  an  indi 
vidual  in  this  respect,  he  doesn't  forget  people.  After  World  War 
II,  I  hadn't  heard  from  him  and  he'd  been  Governor  and  I  wasn't 
living  here.  That  was  in  19^*7  and  I  was  suddenly  sent  from 
Ft.  Leavenworth,  Kansas  to  Korea  as  Military  Governor  when  General 
Lerch  died  suddenly.   I'd  been  ordered  to  replace  him  and  damn  if 
I  didn't  get  a  letter  from  Governor  Warren  almost  immediately, 

Dean:  congratulating  me  and  saying  he  remembered  our  association  when 
I  was  on  the  force  and  he  was  Assistant  District  Attorney. 
Frankly,  I  had  ,1ust  forgotten  all  about  that,  but  since  then  I've 
seen  him  and  he's  always  been  very  pleasant.   I  do  know  that  he 
and  August  Vollmer  had  mutual  regard  and  respect  for  one  another. 

JRH:  Do  you  remember  anything  they  worked  on  together  in  particular? 

Dean:  No.  When  I  had  a  case  the  District  Attorney,  Earl  Warren,  showed 
he  had  a  high  respect  for  the  Department  by  the  way  he  worked 
with  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 

JRK:  Do  you  remember  any  stories  he  told  about  starting  out  the  police 
or  anything  like  that? 

Dean:   If  I  tell  you  I  wouldn't  know  whether  they  were  stories  I'd  read 
or  heard  about.   Re  wasn't  one  with  a  big  ego  telling  about  what 
he  did.   He  was  telling  what  we  were  going  to  do.   I've  read 
Parker's  book  and  I've  heard  about  him  from  men  like  old 
Frank  Waterbury  and  George  Kohler,  the  father  of  the  ex-postmaster 
here  who  Just  died  recently. 

JRH:  Here's  another  event  I  see  was  around  your  time  and  I'm  interested 
in  asking  about  it.  Apparently  there  was  a  scandal  in  1925  about 
bail  bonds.  Do  you  remember? 

Dean:  No.   I  left  in  1923.   I  hadn't  heard  anything  about  that. 

You  know,  the  Chief  was  very  quick  to  act  in  an  emergency  of  any 
kind.   I  remember  somebody  tried  to  escape  one  time  and  ran  into 
a  coal  yard  across  the  street  and  Vollmer  went  in  after  him.   Ke 
was  faster  than  the  old  Desk  Sergeant  so  after  he  went  in  after 
the  fellow,  a  hunk  of  coal  hit  him  in  the  head  and  cut  his  head  but 
he  went  right  in  and  grabbed  the  escapee  and  he  wasn't  a  younp;  man 
then.   I  didn't  see  it,  but  I  saw  the  cut  on  his  head.   I'll  tell 
you  somebody  I  think  could  give  you  a  lot  of  dope  about  Vollmer  as 
a  man.  That  would  be  Rose  Olavinovich.  She  was  the  daughter  of 
the  Marshal  of  the  City  of  Albany,  but  she  was  also  the  police 
reporter  for  the  Oakland  Tribune  assigned  to  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department.   She  has  a  very  retentive  memory  and  I  know  we  felt 
that  she  was  a  member  of  the  Department.  That  was  her  beat.   I'm 
certain  she  knows  a  lot  of  interesting  incidents. 

JRH:   I  don't  know  if  you  want  to  put  this  on  tape,  but  you  mentioned 
that  Vollmer  wrote  to  you  during  the  time  you  were  a  prisoner  of 

Dean:   I  received  two  nice  letters.   I  have  a  secretary  that  comes  on 

Mondays  and  she  might  be  able  to  find  the  letters.  They  were  Just 
pleasant  letters  telling  me  what  O.W.  Wilson  was  doing  and  what 
Ralph  Proctor  was  doing. 

JRH:  Was  it  pretty  quiet  here  at  night  when  you  were  on  the  force? 
Dean:  It  was.  We  thought  we  had  problems  but  we  didn't. 

JBH:  You  mentioned  that  Vollmer  was  one  of  the  people  trying  to  cure 
people  with  druf:  problems.  What  kind  of  drug  problems  did  they 
have  then? 

Dean:  Using  cocaine  and  heroin.   It  wasn't  marijuana.   I  never  heard 
of  marijuana  until  I  went  into  the  service  and  I  was  stationed 
in  Panama  in  1926  to  1929.  We  had  a  number  of  men  smoking 
marijuana.  Evidently  it  was  grown  very  plentifully  in  the  tropic 
areas  so  for  almost  nothing  they'd  try  it  and  then  we'd  have  a 
goofy  man  sometimes.  That  was  in  the  service  and  the  first  I'd 
seen  it. 

JRH:  I  guess  the  fraternities  were  the  big  thing  on  patrols  in  those 

Dean:  Nothing  really  vicious  happened.  Only  the  freshmen  or  new  members 
and  candidates  for  initiation  had  to  do  certain  things  and  they'd 
tell  them  to  go  steal  a  tombstone  or  something  like  that.  They'd 
usually  have  to  go  to  San  Francisco  because  they  had  to  brine:  back 
an  ancient  one.  Or  an  intoxicated  fraternity  boy  would  stagger 
across  campus  at  night  on  his  way  home  and  get  rolled.  They  sent 
me  out  to  stagger  along  on  campus  at  night  a  few  times  but  I  never 
was  rolled.  Maybe  I  wasn't  convincing  enough. 


INDEX  ~  William  Dean 

Berkeley,  City  of 

Police  Department,  1-3,  8 

population,  2 

school  traffic  patrols ,  3 
Brereton,  George,  3 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  3 
Claremont  District  burglaries,  7 
commuting  burglars,  6-7 

drug  problems,  9 
Elk's  Club,  2 

Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation  (FBI),  5 

fingerprint  system,  5 

Ft.  Leavenworth,  Kansas,  7 

Gamevell  signal  system,  U 
Glavinovich,  Rose,  8 
Gordon,  Walter,  3 

Hetch  Hetchy  San  Francisco  Water  Project,  1 
Hoar,  Henry,  3 
Hoover,  J.  Edgar,  5 

Kohler,  George,  8 
Kokura,  5 
Korea,  7 
Ku  Klux  KLan,  7 
Kyushu,  5 

Larson,  John,  3,  5 

Lerch,  General  Archer,  7 

Los  Angeles  Police  Department,  k 

MacArthur,  Douglas,  1 
Marshall,  George,  1 
modus  operand!  (M.O.),  5 

Okinawa,  5 


police  procedures,  passim 
Parker,  Alfred  E. ,  8 

Crime  Fighter:  August  Vollner,  8 
pri soner-of-var  letters,  8 
Proctor,  Ralph,  8 

San  Francisco,  7 
San  Pablo  Avenue,  2 
San  Quentin,  5 
Shattuck  Avenue,  U 

Taylor,  Clarence,  1 
Telegraph  Avenue ,  U 
Thayer,  Kenneth,  1 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley 
fraternities,  9 
School  of  Criminology,  U-5 

Warren,  Earl,  7-8 
Waterbury,  Frank,  8 
Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,  3,  5,  8 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollaer  Historical  Project 

Rose  Glavinovich 


An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

©  1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 

April  21,  1992 

Rose  Glavinovich 

Rose  Glavinovich,  a  reporter 
who  covered  Berkeley  for  the  Oak 
land  Tribune  for  42  years,  died  Sat 
urday  night  at  Alta  Bates  Hospital 
In  Berkeley  at  the  age  of  101. 

Services  are  pending. 

Ms.  Glavinovich  was  born  in 
San  Francisco  and  moved  to  the 
East  Bay  after  the  1906  earthquake 
and  fire  destroyed  the  family 

Her  first  newspaper  job  was  as 
a  society  reporter  with  the  old 
Berkeley  Gazette.  She  moved  to 
the  Tribune's  Berkeley  bureau  in 
1919,  where  she  covered  police 
news,  the  courts,  the  university 
campus  and  general  city  affairs 
until  her  retirement  in  1981. 

Ms.  Glavinovich  was  known  to 
instill  fear  in  young  reporters  en 
trusted  to  her  care.  Those  who 
passed  muster  called  themselves 
"Rose's  Boys." 

There  are  no  immediate  survi 


Rose  Glavinovich  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part  of  a  series  on 
the  personal  and  professional  life  of  August  Vollmer.  Since 
Miss  Glavinovich  served  as  a  press  reporter  for  the  Oakland  Tribune 
stationed  at  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  for  over  30  years,  she  brings 
the  point  of  view  of  a  Journalist  to  the  interview. 

Interviewer : 

Time  and  Setting  of 
the  Interview: 

Narrative  Account 
of  Rose  Glavinovich 
and  the  Progress  of 
the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

The  interview  was  conducted  on  July  15,  1971,  in 
Miss  Glavinovich ' s  comfortable  Berkeley  Hills  home. 
The  interview  began  at  around  10  a.m.  and  concluded 
around  noon.  Editing  of  the  transcribed  tapes  was 
done  by  Jane  Howard.  Minimal  changes  were  made,  in 
spelling  and  punctuation;  paranthetical  comments  were 
added  to  provide  clarity.  Miss  Glavinovich  reviewed 
the  transcript  and  made  only  minor  revisions. 

Rose  Glavinovich,  daughter  of  an  Albany,  California, 
Chief  of  Police,  worked  as  an  Oakland  Tribune  reporter 
for  over  30  years.   She  was  stationed,  during  most  of 
her  career,  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department.  She 
rose  over  the  years  to  be  Dean  of  the  Berkeley  Press 
Corps.  On  her  retirement  she  was  made  an  honorary 
policewoman.  Miss  Glavinovich  became  a  close  friend 
of  Mr.  Vollmer1 s  and  provided  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department  with  very  extensive  news  coverage  over  the 
years . 

The  tape  begins  with  an  account  of  two  of  Mr.  Vollmer1 s 
contributions  to  law  enforcement :  introduction  of 
scientific  principles  and  of  the  "golden  rule"  principle. 

Rose  Glavinovich  then  talks  about  her  relation  to  the 
police  department  and  how  she  became  a  reporter  at 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department  and  of  the  unusually 
open  and  close  working  relationship  between  bay  area 
press  and  the  Vollmer  police  department. 

She  recalls  the  day  of  Vollmer 's  death  and  the  diffi 
culty  she  had  managing  to  fill  her  responsibilities  as 
a  reporter  when  the  suicide  was  of  a  man  she  had 
worked  with  so  closely. 


Rose  Glavinovlch  (contd. ) 

The  dialogue  turns  to  the  encouragement  Vollmer  gave 
to  many  employees,  friends  and  city  officials. 
Miss  Glavinovich  closes  with  a  fev  comments  on 
Vollmer 's  wives. 

Jane  Howard 

RG:  Vollmer  was  a  young  letter  carrier  in  Berkeley  when  he  was 
persuaded  to  run  for  town  Marshal  on  a  reform  ticket. 

JRH:  Was  that  before  the  Progressive  Party  or  what  kind  of  a  reform 
ticket,  Republican  reform  ticket  or  Just  non-partisan? 

RG:  Non-partisan.  Not  a  formal  party  —  Just  people  who  wanted  a 
change.  I'm  sure  it  was  Just  before  the  San  Francisco  fire. 
I  only  moved  to  this  side  of  the  Bay  after  the  fire  in  San 
Francisco  —  a  couple  of  years  after  we  lost  our  home.  So  I 
am  not  too  conversant  with  that,  but  he  became  interested  and 
told  me  once  that  he  went  to  bed  election  night  and  said  we've 
won  because  they  made  a  very  intensive  campaign  throughout  the 
city  and  contacted  people,  so  he  practically  counted  votes. 

After  he  took  over  this  very  small  police  department,  he  became 
interested  in  police  techniques.  He  started  what  was  then 
called  "The  Golden  Rule  Police  Department,1'  where  everybody 
had  good  manners  for  everybody  else.  You  treated  people  as 
humans  and  you  were  not  the  traditional  policemen.  And,  he 
started  then  to  institute  a  whole  series  of  reforms  which  were 
adopted  throughout  the  country  and  the  world.  Vollmer-t rained 
policemen  went  out  into  the  world  to  spread  the  "new  gospel1' 
of  enlightened  criminology. 

For  instance,  so  that  more  ground  could  be  covered  than  on  foot 
he  put  his  men  on  bicycles  first,  then  in  the  old  Model  T  Fords. 
It  was  fascinating.  There  were  some  very  big  men  in  the  depart 
ment  and  they  had  to  get  in  the  old  Model  T  sitting  behind  the 
wheels  all  scrunched  up.  Eventually  complete  motorization 
evolved  into  the  men  operating  their  own  cars  with  upkeep  paid 
by  the  city.  For  years  they  owned  their  own  cars.  He  did  many 
things  to  bring  the  police  department  closer  to  the  people. 

He  fought  through  the  years  for  better  working  conditions  and 
salaries  —  all  these  things  for  his  men.  Sometimes  there  were 
near  serious  consequences ,  as  I  recall  one  instance  under  the 
first  City  Manager.  The  men  were  badly  underpaid  and  I  remem 
ber  being  in  a  little  plot  with  Vollmer  which  ve  never  admitted 

RG:  to  the  City  Manager.  Some  of  the  men  at  that  time  were  going 
to  the  University  and  working  night  shifts  to  get  degrees. 
These  were  the  first  college-educated  policemen  —  to  bring 
nation-wide  publicity  to  Berkeley  and  the  pioneers  in  setting 
high  standards  for  lav  enforcement .  There  came  a  time  when 
quite  a  few  of  them  were  graduating  and  were  going  off  to 
various  pursuits.  To  focus  attention  on  the  underpaid  condition 
of  the  department,  we  concocted  a  story  of  these  men  leaving 
because  of  this  and  the  City  Manager  was  incensed.  He  ended 
up  calling  Vollmer  and  me  up  to  his  office  and  said  to  Vollmer, 
"Did  you  have  any  part  of  this?"  We  had  agreed  ahead  of  time 
that  he  had  no  part  of  it,  knew  nothing  about  it,  I  was  the 
guilty  party  because  I  wasn't  working  for  the  city.  I  said  no 
he  did  not.  He  said,  "If  you  had  I  would  have  fired  you."  The 
men  got  a  raise  1 

JRH:  Do  you  think  the  City  Manager  suspected  Vollmer? 

RG:  He  suspected,  sure.  He  was  an  intelligent  man.  He  knew  that 
Vollmer  was  a  very  astute  person  too,  but  I  polled  the  City 
Council  and  we  had  the  votes  in  the  bag  and  we  got  the  raise. 
Which  was  very  necessary.  He  fought  for  his  men  constantly. 
He  never  let  them  down  at  any  time. 

JRH:  Did  you  have  to  go  through  that  again  later  on? 

RG:  Later  on  the  Council  was  aware  of  the  situation  and  city  employees 
were  becoming  more  organized.  Raises  were  coming  along  more 
automatically.  But  there  was  still  a  struggle  to  get  adequate 
pay  and  in  recent  years  it  was  easier,  or  was  until  the  so-called 
"radicals"  were  elected.  That  first  "showdown"  was  under  the 
first  City  Manager,  John  F.  Edy  who  was  really  a  very  fine  man. 
Frankly,  he  was  resentful  somewhat  and  I'm  sure  I'm  not  the  only 
one  who  says  this,  that  Vollmer  was  a  bigger  man  in  the  community 
than  he  was  and  that  was  natural. 

When  I  went  down  to  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  during  the 
first  world  war  (if  you  want  some  of  the  human  side  of  Vollmer), 
I  was  the  first  woman  ever  to  cover  a  police  station  in  this 
area.  The  Oakland  Tribune  had  a  shortage  of  men  at  that  time, 
so  I  was  Just  a  war  casualty.  I  had  known  him  before  but  not 
too  well.  So  when  I  went  down,  I  was  the  only  woman  around 
that  place,  not  even  a  policewoman.  The  men  of  course  didn't 
know  exactly  how  to  take  it.  The  Police  Department  was  in  the 
basement  of  the  City  Hall.  The  Squad  Room  and  Press  Room  were 
one  so  we  were  very  close  and  intimate.  Vollmer  was  so  very 
helpful  in  many  ways  and  it  wasn't  long  before  I  was  accepted 
without  any  qualms.  The  newspaper  men  who  were  down  there  cover 
ing  were  good  friends  of  mine  and  they  helped  me  out  too,  so  it 

RG:  was  very  good.  Then,  in  those  days  too,  they  had  no  policewoman 
and  I  would  "double"  once  in  awhile  when  they  needed  a  woman  to 
be  with  an  officer  if  a  woman  was  being  searched.  They'd  say, 
"Come  and  help  out"  and  of  course  I  would,  so  that  it  worked 
both  ways. 

Vollmer  became  interested  in  new  and  modern  police  techniques . 
He  attracted  attention  from  all  over.  It  was  he  who  brought 
in  Dr.  John  Larson  with  his  first  lie  detector.  It  was  a  very 
clumsy  device  and  it  looked  like  an  infernal  machine.  John  was 
the  first  Ph.D.  policeman  in  the  country.  He  did  many  experi 
ments  and  was  the  one  who  started  Leonard  Keeler  on  his  way. 
Keeler  in  Chicago  became  an  eminent  lie  detector  authority  (he's 
dead  now). 

JRH:  Vollmer  must  have  had  a  lot  of  original  ideas,  but  you  and  the 
other  press  people  must  have  been  a  big  factor  in  his  getting 
them  known. 

RG:  Of  course,  he  was  news  I 

JRfl:  Did  he  tell  you  what  he  would  like  to  see  printed  or  how  did  it 
work  out? 

RG:  lie  Just  made  the  news.  He  started  innovations  and  they  were  news, 
It  Just  naturally  worked  out  as  news.  He  was  very  conscious  of 
the  value  of  publicity,  not  as  personal  publicity,  but  for  the 
ideas  and  ideals  he  had  in  police  work.  He  was  responsible  for 
raising  the  standards  throughout  the  country.  Men  from  his 
department  were  constantly  being  loaned  for  reorganization  of 
other  police  departments  —  some  to  take  permanent  (more  or 
less)  positions  and  others  going  into  teaching  at  colleges  and 
universities.  People  came  from  all  over  the  world. 

And  then  of  course  he  encouraged  the  scientific  aspect  of  police 
investigation  through  such  men  as  E.O.  Heinrich,  who  became  an 
outstanding  criminologist ,  Heinrich  was  called  in  with  his 
microscopes  and  apparatus  on  various  murders.  Remember  we  had 
a  Tule  Marsh  murder  in  El  Cerrito.  Heinrich  came  down  and  he 
literally  had  a  rag  and  a  bone  and  a  hank  of  hair  but  he  gave  a 
description  of  the  woman  who  was  murdered.   It  tallied  and  they 
fianlly  identified  her.  Then  he  had  a  Dr.  Kirk,  (the  crimino 
logist)  who  was  with  the  University  for  years,  and  who  died  not 
too  long  ago,  was  another  one  he  used  and  encouraged.  He  was  a 
very  humane  and  outgoing  person.  He  was  the  kind  of  person  who 
was  interested  in  everybody.  When  you  talked  to  him  you  were 
the  only  person  in  the  world  in  whom  he  was  interested. 

RG:     He  had  a  very  close  relationship  with  the  press,  but  he  demanded 
honesty  and  cooperation  —   fair  play.      In  other  words,  with  a 
wide-open  Police  Department  the  press  had  access  to  all  records. 

JRH:     That  would  be  unbelievably  rare  today.     Was   it  unusual  then? 

RG1:      It  was  unusual.      It  is  not  so  today  because  some  reporters  be 
trayed  confidence  and  records  are  now  closed  at  Berkeley.     But 
in  the  years   I  worked  there  I  could  go  to  the   file  myself  and 
take  out  any  report  I  wanted  without  asking  anybody  about  it. 
Also  the  other  press  people.     There  were  the  San  Francisco  papers: 
the  San  Francisco  Chronicle,  the  San  Francisco  Examiner,  the  Daily 
News .  the  Berkeley  Daily  Gazette,  the  Oakland  Post  Inquirer, 
some  of  which  are  now  extinct. 

It  was  "open  sesame"  which  was  just  fine  except  if  something  went 
wrong.      I   remember  one  time  an  Examiner  man,  an  old  friend  of 
Vollaer's  and  a  good  friend  of  mine,   and  a  couple  of  the  other 
boys   during  Prohibition,  swiped  some  evidence  of  liquor.     Vollmer 
barred  them  from  the  police  station,  the  farthest  they  could  get 
for  their  period  of  punishment  was  the  outer  counter  and  they 
had  to  rely  on   friends   inside  to  help  them  out.      I  don't  remember 
whether  they  took  it  or  substituted  it  or  what ,  but  nevertheless , 
the  evidence  was  gone.      If  Vollmer  found  someone  who  betrayed  a 
confidence  or  betrayed  a  trust,  he  didn't  hesitate  to  do  some 
thing  about  it.      This  worked  beautifully.     There  wasn't  any 
police  department  in  this  area  for  which  newspaper  people  had 
more  respect  and  as  you  said  we  don't  get  these  things  elsewhere. 
This   is  unusual. 

He  always  had  time;  he  was  a  good  friend  and  when  he  was   a  good 
friend  you  were  a  good  friend.     He  always  tried  to  think  of 
things  to  help  you.     Some  of  the  best  exclusive  stories   I've  ever 
had  came   from  Vollmer. 

JRH:     He  wouldn't  give  them  to  the  other  people,  but  you  were  the  first 

RG:      Once  in  awhile  he  might,  but  if  you  were  good  he'd  slip  them 
to  you.     They  were  off-department,  extra-curricular  things,   if 
you  know  what  I  mean.      I  remember  a  beautiful  love  nest  with 
a  University  professor's  niece  that  he  tipped  me  off  to.      It 
was  stupendous  and  it  had  no  connection  with  the  Berkeley  Depart 
ment  at  all,  it  was  Just  something  he  knew  about.      I  sat  on 
that  story  over  a  weekend.      The  "love  birds"  went  for  it, 
pictures  and  everything,  they  were  proud  of  themselves.     At  that 
time  it  was  unusual;  today  it  wouldn't  mean  anything. 

RG:  He  went  to  other  countries:  Germany,  China,  all  over.   I  think 
he  vent  to  Germany,  but  I  might  be  a  little  vague  on  that. 

(After  off  the  tape  discussion  of  whether  to  discuss  the  suicide:) 
He  had  been  ill  for  some  time.  His  sight  was  bad  and  with  com 
plications  he  was  in  intense  pain  for  a  long  time,  many  months. 
He  had  said  on  occasion  that  if  it  got  too  bad,  he  would  do  this 
thing  that  he  did.  They  didn't  have  a  complete  biography  of  him 
at  the  Police  Station  but  they  had  a  lot  of  material  which  they 
gave  to  me  and  asked  if  I  would  get  a  biography  together  in  the 
event  something  happened,  not  dreaming  what  did  happen  would 
happen.  I  got  this  together  and  they  made  copies  of  it  so  they 
had  it  available.  I  remember  sending  this  to  my  office  some 
weeks  before,  which  was  a  lifesaver  at  the  time  of  his  death. 
The  morning  that  he  committed  suicide  I  was  sitting  in  my  office. 
The  early  edition  was  off  and  I  was  at  the  office  doing  some 
work  when  I  heard  a  radio  call  with  an  address  on  Euclid  Avenue, 
a  suicide  by  gunshot.  I  recognized  the  address.  The  men  on  the 
Desk  didn't.  I  called  down  and  asked  for  the  Captain  of  Detec 
tives,  who  was  Walter  Johnson  at  that  time,  and  I  said,  "Do  you 
know  what  address  this  is  with  the  gunshot  wound?"  He  said  no 
and  I  said,  "It's  Vollaer's." 

I  dashed  up  there  with  a  chap  who  was  working  with  me  and  arrived 
Just  as  they  were  taking  him  away.  I  had  been  at  the  house  a 
number  of  times  and  I  knew  the  housekeeper.  She  let  me  in  the 
house  and  it  was  some  comfort  to  her  because  she  was  shaking  and 
threw  her  arms  around  me.  It  was  the  hardest  story  I  ever  covered. 
I  was  on  a  first  edition  deadline  and  here  was  one  of  my  best 
friends  who  had  done  this ,  but  I  had  to  get  on  the  telephone  and 
I  did.  They  fortunately  had  this  biography  and  I  know  the  chap 
who  was  with  me  said  that  I  turned  white  and  he  thought  I  was 
going  to  faint.  Very  soon  other  newspaper  men  came  up  and  for 
some  time  afterwards  they  were  downstair*  in  his  study.  Much 
to  their  chagrin  I  was  upstairs.  I'll  never  forget  the  anguish 
of  going  through  that. 

JRH:  You  had  to  call  and  give  the  whole  story  right  away? 
RG:  Yes.  To  meet  a  deadline.  But  what  could  you  do? 

Vollmer  was  a  very  good  friend  and  he  would  give  me  excellent 
advice.  I  remember  when  I  was  younger  and  ambitious,  I  wanted 
to  get  away  and  do  bigger  and  better  things .   I  thought ,  "Oh 
heck,  covering  this  police  beat  was  fun  and  I  enjoyed  it  and 
the  Tribune  was  marvelous  to  work  for,  but  I  thought  I  should 
like  to  go  abroad  or  do  something,  reach  out.  I  remember  him 
saying  this  to  me,  and  I've  never  forgotten  his  answer.  He 
said,  "Remember,  wherever  you  go,  you  take  yourself  with  you 
and  if  you  are  not  happy  here  you  won't  be  happy  there." 

RG:   I  wasn't  particularly  unhappy  but  I  thought  about  it  and  when  I 
had  offers  from  other  papers ,  I  stayed  with  the  Tribune  where  I 
was  really  happy.  Anytime  I  had  problems  and  wanted  to  talk 
things  over,  there  was  a  man  ready  to  listen  and  straighten  you 

JRH:  That's  interesting.  He  must  have  done  that  for  an  awful  lot  of 
people . 

RG:  He  was  interested  in  so  many  people.  People  came  from  all  over. 
He  had  many  men  and  women  with  personal  problems  come  to  him. 
Not  on  a  police  basis,  but  they  could  have  been  police  aspects. 
I'll  never  forget  one  father  who  had  a  son  he  couldn't  do  anything 
with.  Vollmer  brought  him  down, kept  him  in  the  Police  Station  for 
awhile,  locked  him  up  to  discipline  him  and  it  straightened  him 
out.  The  guy  is  now  very  respectable  and  I  won't  mention  his 
name,  but  you'd  know  it  if  I  mentioned  it.  Vollmer  did  so  many 
things  for  so  many  people ;  family  friends ,  personal  friends , 
city  officials.  He  was  very  close  to  everybody. 

(Pause  here.  Tape  turned  off.)  I  started  in  as  a  novice  on 
the  Berkeley  Daily  Gazette.  Didn't  know  anything  about  newspaper 
work  at  all.  They  called  me  up  and  said  come  to  work.  I  had 
never  asked  for  a  newspaper  Job  in  my  life. 

JRH:  How  did  they  think  to  ask  you? 

RG:  I  knew  the  City  Editor  on  the  Gazette  slightly  and  he  said  they 
needed  a  society  editor  and  to  come  on  down.  I  said,  "Oh,  my 
God,  I've  never  done  it."  So  I  went.  I  was  young  and  green. 
During  the  war  I'd  done  other  things  besides  society  and  I  had 
done  some  interesting  news  stories  on  the  Gazette.  Apparently 
the  men  on  the  beat  thought  I'd  developed  into  a  pretty  good 
newspaper  woman,  so  when  the  Tribune  took  its  Berkeley  corres 
pondent  into  the  Oakland  office  to  become  Assistant  City  Editor, 
they  asked  me  to  take  his  Job.  At  that  time,  it  covered  the 
entire  city,  the  University.  You  had  no  automobile  so  you  went 
around  on  foot,  so  subsequently  thereafter,  I  got  my  first  car. 
It  was  one  of  those  struggles  where  you  used  the  streetcars  and 
it  was  Just  terrific  and  you  wonder  now  how  you  did  it. 

I  had  met  Vollmer  when  I  had  been  working  for  the  Gazette  and  I 
knew  him  and  his  first  wife,  Itfdia  Sturtevant  slightly  and  soci 
ally.  Then  when  I  went  to  the  Police  Station  I  said,  "Here  I  am" 
and  he  said,  "Fine."  He  took  me  under  his  wing  and  that  was  it. 

JRH:  Not  many  people  knew  his  first  wife.  Did  you  have  much  contact 
with  her? 

RG:  She  was  a  singer  and  had  a  studio.  She  taught  voice  on  Shattuck 
Avenue  upstairs  where  Penney 's  is  now.  She  was  a  rather  buxom, 
attractive,  dark-haired  woman.  Then  I  knew  his  second  wife, 
Millicent  called  "Pat."  They  married  in  Los  Angeles. 

Did  anybody  tell  you  about  the  Los  Angeles  so-called  scandal? 
JRH:  No. 

RG:   I'm  a  little  vague  on  this,  but  when  he  went  down  to  Los  Angeles 
to  reorganize  the  police  department,  some  woman  brought  charges 
against  him  but  I  can't  remember  what  they  were.  Why  don't  you 
go  down  to  the  Oakland  Tribune  office  files  on  Vollmer?  I'll 
give  you  a  letter.  They  have  very  complete  files.  This  woman's 
charges  would  probably  be  in  there. 

JRH:  That  would  be  a  good  idea,  because  I'd  never  heard  of  this  and 

there's  probably  a  lot  of  things  there  that  no  one's  talked  about, 

RG:   I  can't  remember  what  it  was,  but  it  was  something  of  an  intimate 
nature.  Right  after  that  he  married  Pat  to  spike  the  guns.  It 
was  a  nuisance  tactic  in  retaliation  for  his  police  investigation 
down  there. 

JRH:  You  mentioned  how  you  got  to  know  him. 

RG:   I  knew  of  him  before  I  met  him.  He  was  a  charming  person,  good 
looking,  outgoing,  fun  loving,  we  had  more  fun. 

(Phone  rang.  After  returning,  Miss  Glavinovich  said  she  felt 
she  had  really  said  all  she  had  to  say.) 


INDEX  ~  Rose  Glavinovich 

Berkeley,  City  of 

City  Manager,  1-2 
City  Hall,  2 

criminology,  "enlightened",  1 

Edy,  John  F. ,  2 

"Golden  Rule  Police  Department",  1 

Heinrich,  E.O. ,  3 

Johnson,  Walter,  5 

Keeler,  Leonard,  3 
Kirk,  Dr.  Paul,  3 

Larson,  John,  3 

Los  Angeles  Police  Department,  7 

non-partisan  politics,  1 


Berkeley  Daily  Gazette.  U,  6 

Daily  Nevs ,  U 

Oakland  Post  Inquirer,  U 

Oakland  Tribune,  2,  6 

San  Francisco  Chronicle,  U 

San  Francisco  Examiner,  U 

police  procedures,  1-U 

San  Francisco  fire,  1 
Sturtevant ,  Lydia,  6-7 

Tule  Marsh  murder  case,  3 
Vollmer,  Millicent  "Pat",  7 

..)  J 

Gene  B.  Woods 

A.L.  Coffey 

George  Brereton 


Gene  Woods  was  Interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part-  of  the  August  Vollmer 
series.  Mr.  Woods,  a  patrolman  under  August  Vollmer  vho  retired  due  to 
injuries  sustained  in  the  line  of  duty,  brought  the  point  of  view  of  a 
patrolman  to  the  series. 


Jane  Howard 

Time  and  Setting  A  single  interview  was  held  on  July  23,  1971,  at  the 
of  the  Interview:  interviewer's  Oakland  apartment.  A  friend  of  Mr.  Woods 
sat  in  on  the  interview  without  commenting.  The  inter 
view  began  at  1  p.m.  and  ended  at  2  p.m. 

Editing:         Editing  was  done  by  Jane  Howard.  Punctuation  and  gram 
matical  errors  were  corrected.  Mr.  Woods  also  edited 
the  interview,  making  only  minor  grammatical  changes.  He 
corrected  the  spelling  of  several  names. 

Narrative  Account 

of  Mr.  Woods  and  Gene  Woods  was  born  in  Berkeley  about  1902.  He  became 
the  Progress  of   interested  in  police  work  during  high  school  and  served 
the  Interview:    as  a  volunteer  for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  during 
his  last  years  in  high  school. 

Mr.  Woods  went  to  work  as  August  Vollmer 's  secretary  upon 
graduation  and  served  in  several  positions  within  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  until  he  was  forced  to  retire 
in  1931  due  to  police  service  related  disabilities. 

He  gradually  regained  his  health,  however,  and  returned 
to  work  to  serve  as  police  chief  in  several  small  cities. 
He  is  now  retired  and  lives  in  Walnut  Creek. 

Mr.  Woods  opens  the  interview  with  the  recollection  that 
he  came  to  work  for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  right 
after  World  War  I;  he  took  the  Job  since  it  was  the  first 
one  to  come  up  and  he  needed  work. 

Mr.  Woods  had  known  Mr.  Vollmer  as  a  boy;  he  remembers 
getting  chocolates  at  Vollmer's  office. 

Mr.  Woods'  first  police  Job  was  as  a  secretary  to  Vollmer; 
he  subsequently  learned  many  phases  of  police  work. 

Mr.  Woods  recounts  an  incident  in  which  he  felt  the 
Acting  Chief  of  Police,  John  Greening,  attempted  to  frame 
him  and  several  other  policemen.  He  discusses  his  fight 
for  vindication  and  reinstatement. 


Gene  Woods  (contd. ) 

The  discussion  turns  to  Mr.  Woods'  fscling  that  Vollmer's 
way  of  looking  people  over  when  they  cane  to  see  him 
reflected  some  inner  weakness  of  Vollmer's.  Mr.  Woods 
tried  over  the  years  to  get  Vollmer  to  explain  this 
mannerism,  but  never  succeeded. 

Woods  then  tells  of  his  retirement  from  the  force  due 
to  injuries  sustained  on  the  Job,  followed  by  gradual 
recovery  of  physical  strength.  He  recalls  he  was  then 
helped  to  return  to  work  by  Gene  Biccailuz,  then  a 
Captain  in  the  Los  Angeles  Police  Department ,  and  sub 
sequently  by  Vollmer. 

Gene  Woods  states  that  he  thinks  everyone  who  ever  worked 
with  Vollmer  admired  him.  He  recalled,  however,  an 
incident  when  Vollmer  did  not  take  action  against  a 
police  officer  who  beat  him  and  another  young  school  boy. 

Mr.  Woods  took  J.  Edgar  Hoover  around  California  in  1926 
to  show  him  some  California  innovations  in  law  enforce 

Mr.  Woods  discusses  Vollmer's  "crab  meeting"  training 
sessions  and  his  emphasis  on  police  training.  The 
interview  closes  with  a  story  illustrating  why  he 
believes,  from  personal  experience,  that  capital  punish 
ment  is  necessary. 

Woods:        My  name  is  Gene  Woods,  there's  a  "B"  in  the  middle  of  it. 
With  relation  to  August  Vollmer  and  dating  on  back  to  my 
first  knowledge  of  him,   I  was  probably  around  six  or  seven 
years  of  age.     At  that  time  he  was  a  letter  carrier  in  the 
Post  Office  Department. 

JRH:        You  grew  up,  then,   in  Berkeley. 

Woods:        I  was  born  in  Berkeley.     Vollmer  became  the  first  Marshal  of 
the  City  of  Berkeley.     When  the  populace   grew  sufficiently, 
he  became  the  first  Chief  and  remained  in  that  capacity.     My 
dad  had  been  in  police  work  and  he  and  August  Vollmer  were 
very  good  friends.      It  had  no  basis  or  bearing  upon  my  be 
coming  a  member  of  the  Department.      In  fact,  my  dad  was 
opposed  to  my  becoming  a  member.      I  think  that  he  was  fearful 
that  I  wouldn't  be  able  to  pass  the  examination.      I  wasn't 
raised  by  my  dad. 

JRH:       We  have  Chief  Holstrom  working  with  us;  ne  put  together  some 
of  the  names  for  us   and  he  mentioned  that  your  father  did  a 
survey  in  Nanking. 

Woods:        Yes,   he  did  go  out  there.     Of  course,  he's  been  dead  since 
19U5.     So,  well  with  Vollmer,   I  had  known  him  as  a  little 
boy  and  then  as  I  grew  up,   I  got  to  know  him.      I  was  in  the 
service  in  World  War  I.     When  I  came  out  of  the  service,   I 
was  casting  about  to  find  a  Job.      It  wasn't  like  it  is  today, 
they  weren't  finding  Jobs   for  veterans.      Anyway,   I  went  to 
work  for  a  railroad,  and  I  got  cut  out  at  the   'board'   a  few 
times  and  that  was  unbearable.     That's  when  I  came  back  down 
to  Berkeley.      I  took  the  examination  in  Berkeley,  Oakland, 
San  Francisco  and  Alameda.     They  didn't  have  an  examination 
in  Alameda,  but  I  filed  anyway,   looking  for  a  Job.      I  had 
talked  to  my  dad.     August  Vollmer  was  away  at  that  time, 
when  I  took  the  examination.      He  was  back  in  Los  Angeles. 
I  took  this  examination  and  then  I  was  out  to  get  the   first 
Job  that  came  up.      I  was  hungry.     That  was  the  first  one 
that  came  about  and  I  took  it. 

JRH:        Do  you  remember  whether  or  not  you  were  still  as  impressed 
with  him  as  when  you  vere  a  child? 

Woods:        Oh  yes,  as  a  child,   he  was  a  fabulous  man.     lie  was  then,  of 
course,  a  young  man.     Of  course,   I  vas  still  somewhat  of  a 
kid.     August  Vollmer  always  liked  all  the  kids  in  the  neigh 
borhood.     He  never  got  married  until  he  was  quite  along  in 
years.     When  he  got  married  the  first  time,  he  married  a 
woman  who  was  a  professional  woman,  a  pianist  and  a  singer. 
It  didn't  last  very  long  and  then  he  was  single  for  a  long 

First,  before  he  was  ever  married,   he  treated  us  kids.     We'd 
all   flock  around  the  old  Police  Department  upstairs  at  Shat- 
tuck  and  Allston  Way,  right  across   from  wnat  is  now  the 
Shattuck  Hotel.     We'd  all  flock  over  there  and  he  always 
treated  us  very  nice.     He'd  generally  always  have  in  his 
desk  some  chocolates  or  something,  maybe  there 'd  be  eight  or 
ten  of  us  kids.     He  was  trying  to  point  out  things   for  us. 
Across  the  street  on  Shattuck  Avenue  there  was  a  YMCA  and 
that's  where  we  boys  should  go,   if  we  could  get  our  parents 
to  put  up  the  money  for  us  to  attend. 

That  was  part  of  what  he  undertook  to  do.     To  handle  the  kids 
and  the  first  thing  you  know,  we  became  very  fond  and  had  a 
love  for  him  as  we  would  a  parent.     That's  mostly  kids  that 
knew  him  from  childhood.      It  didn't  seen  like  there  were  many 
in  the  Department  in  these  past  years,  that  had  ever  known 
him  in  that  capacity.     As  a  young  man,  as  he  was  then,  we 
had  all  admired  him  so  much. 

Then,  I  think  the  first  communications  I  got   from  him  was 
after  I  passed  the  examination.     He  sent  me  a  letter  when 
he  learned  of  it  to  welcome  me  into  the   fold;  and  ne  hoped 
that  I  would  carry  on  and  do  something  in  police  work.     He 
hoped  this  for  all  of  us  who  had  passed  the  examination. 
He  had  pointed  out  to  me  that  a  great  many  which  he  tried 
to  encourage  were  these  fellows  going  to  college,  to  the 
University  of  California.     He  hoped  that  I  would  finish  my 
education  and  go  to  college  and  that   I  would  be  able  to  do 
such,   as  he  pointed  out   in  his  communication  to  me.      It 
was  a  very  nice  letter,  where  that  one  went,  I  don't  know. 
It  was  a  nice  one,  because  it  was  something  of  encourage 
ment;  to  try  to  get  you  to  do. 

Woods:       Well  then,   he  returned  and  one  of  the  things  that  he  placed 
in  vogue  that  had  not  been  before  that  time,  requiring 
everyone  of  us,  we  had  to  learn  to  punch  a  typewriter, 
touch  system.      I  was  already  capable  of  that.      I  could  write 
shorthand,  so  that  was  very  good.     So  then,   I  was  working 
in  the  Identification  Bureau  or  in  the  Record  Bureau  when 
I  first  went  in.     Then  after  he  returned  (I'd  been  in  the 
street  in  the  meantime  and  back  in)   he  called  me  in  the 
office,   and  said,   "Gene,  you  can  write  shorthand,   I  under 
stand."     I  said,   "Oh,   Just  a  smattering  knowledge."     I 
didn't  want  him  to  think  I  knew  too  much. 

I  had  learned  enough  about  August  Vollmer,  and  you  might  have 
been  told  by  some,  that  August  Vollmer,    I  think  had  three 
years  of  schooling.     He  passed  the  Bar  examination  without 
ever  going  to  school.     He  gained  all  that  by  himself,  he  was 
a  self-educated  man.     He  was  a  master  of  language  and  me, 
taking  his  dictation.      I'll  tell  you,   it  was  rough I      The 
man,   he  knew  in  the  vernacular  of  the  people  that  he  dealt 
with,  to  use  the  language  that  they  would  throughly  under 
stand.     That  was  his  method,  of  trying  to  point  out  to  you 
never  talk  over     the  heads  of  people  you're  dealing  with. 
I'll  tell  you  a  little  example  pertaining  to  that. 

JRH:        Yeah,   that'll  be  good. 

Woods:        I  went  in  to  work  for  him.      I  didn't  want  to  stay  in  there 
very  long  and  I  told  him  so.      I  got  very  well  acquainted 
with  him.      I  asked  him  no  less  than  ten  times,  a  question 
that  he  very  capably  avoided  answering  even  up  to  five  or 
six  days  before  he  committed  suicide.      I  was  visiting  with 
him  Just  at  that  time.      I  visited  with  him  at  least  once  a 

After  I  came  out  of  World  War  II,  whenever  the  opportunity 
presented  itself,   I  wouldn't  even  bother  calling  the  Chief, 
I'd  Just  take  a  run  up  there  on  Euclid  Avenue  and  stop  in 
and  visit  him.      He  always  made  me  very  walcome.      I'm  going 
around  in  circles  trying  to  tell  you  some  of  the  things 
that  happened. 

Well,  he  went  to  work,  to  tell  me,  he  said,   "Gene,   I  want 
you  to  learn  every  phase  of  police  work."     Every  man  has  to 
qualify  in  identification  and  fingerprints,   every  man  has  to 
be  able  to  classify,  every  man  has  to  have  a  knowledge  of 
blood,  of  powder,  of  everything.     How  to  take  a  Plaster  of 

Woods:        Paris  casts  of  the  various  things.     We're  going  to  elevate 
this,  so  when  you're  sent  out  to  pick  up  any  latent  finger 
prints,  you're  going  to  know  how  to  use  the  camera.     Everyone 
had  to  learn  photography,  something,  so  that  you'd  have  a 
smattering  knowledge.     Then  you  will  not  destroy  any  latent 
prints  of  any  evidence  that  may  have  been  left  at  the  scene 
where  a  crime  had  been  committed.     These  were  the  things 
that  he  was  propounding  into  our  skulls  to  make  us  understand 
what  we  had  to  do.     He  could  do  it  in  such  a  manner  that  you 
appreciated  it. 

Then  one  of  his  successors,   a  man  that,   and  I  very  openly  say 
that  I  disliked  very  much,  a  man  by  the  name  of  Jack  Greening. 
John  A.   Greening.     He  was  Chief  of  Police.     He  was  Acting-Chief, 
at  one  stage.     He  and  my  dad  met  this  way,  they  hated  one 
another,  so  I  was  the  recipient  of  a  lot  of  mistreatment   from 
Jack  Greening.     He  did  everything  he  could  to  injure  me. 

At  any  rate,  I  went  on  through  with  the  guidance  of  August 
Vollmer.     He  was  away  and  then  he  returned.     He  went  back 
to  Chicago.     When  he  returned,   I  was  ailing.      In  1931,  August 
Vollmer  said,   "Well,  Gene,  within  six  month's  time  or  there 
abouts  I  intend  to  take  my  pension.      In  all  probability  Jack 
Greening  will  become  Chief.      I  want  you  to  take  your  pension 
before  I  leave.      I  don't  want  anything  to  happen  to  you."     I 
said,   "How  you  can  avoid  that  is  to  see  to  it  that  that  man 
does  not  become  Chief.     He's  not  eligible   for  it."   In  my 
estimation  he  was  a  disgrace  to  the  Police  Department.      The 
manner  in  which  he  treated  some  of  the  people.     He  would 
place  men  out  to  try  and  get  something  on  the  different  ones 
and  he  framed  five  of  us  in  the  Department.     One  of  them 
became  Chief  of  the  State  Bureau  of  Identification  in  Sacra 
mento.     A  year  ago  he  retired  from  up  there  and  that  was 
George  Brereton. 

JRH:        I  wrote  him  a  letter.     I  haven't  heard  from  him  yet,   though. 

Woods:        "Well,  George  Brereton,  he  might  not  want  to  tell  you  about 
this.      Jack  Greening  had  one  of  these  undercover  agents,  he 
then  had  him  appointed  as  a  member  of  the  Police  Department 
without  examination.     He  had  this  man  go  to  work  and  plant  — 
we  worked  long,  long  hours  to  raid  the  places  throughout 
West  Berkeley  and  all  places  that  were  going  against  the  law 
(bootlegging     and  other  things  in  the  area).     We  worked,   in 
my  case  I'd  gone  to  work  at  8:00  in  the  morning  and  was  still 
working  at  U:00  the  next  morning.     We  went  out  on  these  raids. 

Woods:       We  never  got  any  time  off  or  anything  for  that.     As  I  say, 
at  this  time  Vollmer  was  gone,  when  these  things  were 

So  then  he  had  this  man  go  out  and  plant  vine  in  our  cars. 
I'd  gone  home  at  U:30  that  morning,  dead  tired  and  vent  to 
bed.      Around  7:30  or  8:00  that  morning,  I  got  a  call  on  the 
phone.      "This  is  the  Chief."     I  said,   "Yes,  Chief."     I  didn't 
know  vhat  time  it  vas.     He  said,   "Get  rignt  on  up  here  and 
bring  that  booze  that  you  got."     I  said,   "I  haven't  got  any 
booze,  vhat 're  you  talking  about?"     He  said,  "You  have  so,  ve 
already  found  it,  you've  got  it  in  your  car.     You  bring  it 
right  on  up  here."     I  very  foolishly,   I  vas  very  dumb  in 
that  respect,   I  never  believed  that  I  could  have  destroyed 
that  vine  and  he'd  have  had  no  evidence  on  me.     So,  neverthe 
less  I  vent  on  up  there  and  there  vere   five  of  us  that  vere 
involved.     Then,  he  vent  right  to  the  City  Manager  and  ve 
vere  summarily  dismissed  from  the  Department. 

I  wouldn't  take  it  sitting  down.      I  vas  a  fighter  for  vhat 
vas  right.     So  I  got  another  member  of  the  Department  also 
charged,  G rover  Mull,   a  full-blooded  Indian,  I  was  telling 
you  about  him.     Well,   I  talked  vith  Grover,   he  lived  a  fev 
blocks  from  me,   and  ve  vere  working  almost  on  starvation, 
ve  didn't  have  an  extra  dime  to  get  along  on.      I  wouldn't 
stop  at  that ,   I  vas  going  back  and  Jack  Greening  vas  not  the 
Chief.     He  vasn't  even  Acting-Chief.      Clarence  Lee,  he's 
still  living,  he's  the  oldest  man... 

JRH:        Clarence  Lee? 

Woods:       That's  right!   he  vas  Chief  at  that  time.      I  still  voiced 
myself  very  clearly,   regardless,  vhere  it  goes.     He  acted 
like  a  man  vith  a  backbone  of  vet  spaghetti.     He  vas  afraid 
to  stand  up  in  behalf  of  a  man  against  anything.     A  nice 
person,  a  very  good  man  in  his  field  as  far  as  the  Identifi 
cation  Bureau.     A  very  vonderful  man. 

So,  Clarence  vas  the  Chief,  so  vhen  ve  vent  up,  ve  couldn't 
get  a  hearing.     Finally,   I  vent  up  there  and  said,   "My  God," 
plain  language,   "We're  going  to  follov  this  thing  through." 
Not  one  of  these   fellows  vould  go  vith  me.      I  vent  up  to  the 
police  station  and  walked  right  into  the  Chief's  office. 
Clarence  Lee  was  there  and  I  took  him  by  the  arm,  I  said, 
"You're  going  right  up  that  spiral  stairvay,  you're  going 

Woods:       with  me  up  there  to  see  John  N.   Edy,  the  City  Manager. 

We're  going  to  have  an  understanding  and  have  this  thing 
out."     "I  got  this  to  do  and  that  to  do."     I  said,   "To 
hell  with  that,  you're  going  with  me  now."     I  took  him  by 
the  arm  and  we  marched  up  there.     There  was  a  little  narrow 
stairway  going  up.     We  got  up  there  and  into  the  City  Mana 
ger's  outer  office.     He  looked  out  and  he  knew  me.     He  said, 
"What  are  you  doing  here.  Gene?"     I  said,   "The  Chief  and  I 
want  to  have  a  little  conversation  with  you."     He  said,  "Oh, 
I'm  very  busy."     I  said,   "I  can't  help  that,  this  is  a  very 
important  thing  to  me  and  I've  got  to  see  you  now.     The 
Chief's  got  some  very  important  things  to  do  too." 

Okay,  we  went  in  and  I  said,   "Let  me  start  this  off  by  tell 
ing  you  what  a  rotten  deal  five  of  us  ha>re  been  given  and 
all  the  publicity,  you've  gone  along  witn  to  fire  all  of  us 
without  a  hearing.      It's  a  dirty  lousy  thing  for  you  to  do 
as  City  Manager.     Mr.   John  N.   Edy,   I'm  going  to  tell  you  the 
truth  of  what  happened,  who  placed  this  wine  in  our  cars. 
I've  learned  since  who  the  man  is.     He's  a  red-head.      I 
can't  think  of  the  man's  name.      The  man  was  a  red-head  and 
he  was  John  Greening's  undercover  Agent  and  he  planted  this 
wine  in  the  different  cars. 

"Then,  we  have  been  given  this  kind  of  treatment.      I've  had 
to  dodge  the  newspapers  so  they  can't  take  pictures  of  my 
self  and  some  of  the  rest  of  us.      I'm  determined  that  we  have 
a  hearing  and  have  an  opportunity  to  defend  ourselves.     What 
chance  have  we  got,   if  we  go  out  of  here  with  the  kind  of 
publicity  you're  responsible  for  giving  us?     I  think  it's  a 
dirty  stinking  thing  for  you  to  be  a  part  of.     For  this  Chief 
here,   Clarence  Lee,  this  Acting-Chief  to  go  along  with,   let 
a  man  pull  the  wool  over  his  eyes,   I  don't  like  it  a  bit. 
I'm  going  to  be  given  a  fair  chance." 

So  he  said,   "Okay,   I'm  going  to  get  my  secretary  to  take 
everything  down."     So  I  had  to  go  through  this  again  and 
tell  the  whole  story  again.     He  said  to  me,   "You  wait 
downstairs  in  the  office."     This  was   five  days  after  this 
took  place,   trying  to  get  to  see  him.     So  the  rest  of  them 
were  about  ready  to  move  out  and  leave  town.     At  any  rate, 
we  managed  to  get  a  hearing.      Finally,  he  came  up  with  the 
idea  that  he  was  going  to  fine  all  of  us   $100.00.      I  said, 
"That  might  go,  but  I'm  going  to  fight  for  restoration  of 
that  too." 

JRH:  So,  you  got  back  on.... 

Woods:  Yes,  we  were  reinstated  and  I  fought  for  it.   I  vent  before 
the  City  Council,  when  they  weren't  going  to  gire  it  to  me, 
so  I  fought  to  see  that  we  got  it.  The  rest  of  these  fellows, 
not  one  of  them  would  go  with  me,  so  I  went  up,  I  feared  no 
one,  I  thought  right  was  right  and  it  will  come  out  in  our 
favor.   I  went  before  them  to  preach  this  whole  story  to  them 
and  I  was  condemning  Jack  Greening  a  great  deal,  and  Clarence 
Lee  too,  for  not  having  backbone  enough  to  stand  up  and  give 
us  our  rights.  To  publicize  such  a  thing,  to  give  the  City  a 
bad  name,  the  Police  Department  a  bad  name  und  maybe  we  couldn't 
get  a  Job  and  so  on.  It  boils  me  up  even  nov  thinking  about  it, 
but  it  went  through. 

When  Vollmer  came  back,  he  called  me  in  and  we  sat  down  together 
for  about  three  hours  discussing  the  whole  story.  Then  he, 
August  Vollmer,  got  the  different  ones  in  there  to  talk  and 
finally  all  of  us  were  in  there  together.  Then  he  informed  them 
of  what  I  had  told  him  previously,  he  wanted  to  know  if  they 
agreed.  They  didn't  know  of  my  going  upstairs  with  Clarence  Lee 
or  anything.  Then  Vollmer  commended  me  for  standing  up  for  what 
was  right  and  fighting  for  it.  He  was  very  happy  to  know  that 
we  were  not  involved  as  we  had  been  accused. 

I  went  back  to  him  later,  because  I  was  back  in  the  office  quite 
a  good  deal  from  one  department  to  another  department  within  our 
department.   I  had  many  tines  to  talk  to  him.  One  of  the  things 
I  asked,  this  was  earlier,  "Chief,  I've  been  around  you  a  great 
deal,  I've  been  before  you,  I've  taken  dictation  from  you,  I've 
been  sent  on  missions  by  you  here  and  there.   I've  been  with  you 
to  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  going  along 
with  you  to  take  and  transcribe  some  of  the  things  that  transpired 
there  when  you  were  going  through  the  chairs  and  all.  I  think  I 
know  you  pretty  well,  and  I've  been  wondering,  I  want  to  know 
why,  not  for  myself,  cause  you've  never  worried  me,  most  of  the 
men  who  come  into  that  office,  whether  they're  called  in  by  you 
or  whether  they're  asking  for  time  to  see  you  and  your  door  is 
always  open  to  them  to  come  in.  Why  is  it  you  make  them  so  damn 

"Every  man  that  comes  before  you,  you  see  him  looking  himself  up 
and  down;  but  you  look  at  him,  glance  down  and  you  look  him 


Woods:        over.     You  look  from  one  side  to  the  other,  like  you're 
looking  to  see  whether  that  man  shaved  today,  whether 
he's  got  spots  on  his  uniform,  whether  he  needs  a  haircut 
or  whatever.     You  make  him  so  damn  uncomfortable  that  he 
forgets  some  of  the  things  that  he  came   in  to  ask  you. 
I  want  to  know  if  you  got  a  weakness  of  some  kind,  what  is 
wrong?     There  must  be  something  that  you're  trying  to  pre 
vent  us  from  asking  you.     There  must  be  something,  some  kind 
of  weakness." 

He  avoided  it,  he'd  smile  a  little.     He  was  not  the  kind  of 
man  to  go  around  grinning  and  smiling.     He  was  a  very  serious 
man,  very  serious  in  nature  and  a  very  grand  person  to  work 
with  and  go  around  for. 

I  went  to  Southern  California  to  die.     Sixteen  so-called 
specialists  told  me  that  I  couldn't  live  over  a  year.     That 
was  one  of  the  reasons  why  Vollmer  wanted  me  to  get  my 
pension,  to  get  out,  whether  I  survived  or  not. 

JRH:       This  was  in  1930,  huh? 

Woods:        No,  that  was  prior  to  then.      I  got  my  pension  then,  this  was 
while  I  was  still  in  the  department.      I  went  up  there  to  add 
the  little  bit  I  knew  to  help  Gene  Biscailuz.      I  became  very 
closely  acquainted  with  him.     He  had  been  the  Captain  of  the 
Sheriff's  office  in  Los  Angeles.     After  I  got  my  pension  he'd 
become  under-Sheriff  and  then  Sheriff.     He  served  the  longest 
time  of  anyone,   I  guess  in  the  United  States  as  Sheriff.     He 
only  died  a  little  over  a  year  ago.      I  wanted  to  go  into  see 
him,  I  hadn't  driven  a  car,  my  legs  got  so  I  could  walk  pretty 
good.      I  had  to  drag  one  side  as  I'd  walk,  my  right  side.      I 
had  no  use,  my  hand,   I  couldn't  use  it.      If  I  wanted  to  pick 
up  anything  I  had  to  wear  a  sock,  my  fingernails  were  gone. 

JRH:        You've  come  all  the  way  back.     You're  not  paralyzed  anymore. 

Woods:       Oh,   I'm  in  pretty  good  shape  today,    for  an  old  man.      I  was 
very  quiet  on  that  old  man  part.     I  went  in  to  see  him, 
Gene  Biscailuz,   and  of  course,  I'd  worn  a  sock.      I  had  a 
pet,   a  dog  that  took  me  as  his  pal,   instead  of  me  taking  in 
the  dog.      I  used  to  walk,   it  would  take  me  over  an  hour  to 
go  a  distance  of  a  quarter  of  a  mile  up  to  the  sand  dunes. 
Day  after  day,   I'd  go  up  there  and  strip  my  clothes  off; 
down  to  my  shorts  only,   in  the  sand  dunes.      I'd  take  two 

Woods:   pieces  of  bread  and  put  some  jam  on  it,  that  was  for  the 

dog  and  myself.  We'd  go  up  there  and  I'd  be  up  there  most 
of  the  day  and  finally  one  day  in  March,  I  had  no  use  at 
all  in  my  right  hand,  if  I  wanted  to  pick  it  up,  I'd  pick 
it  up  and  it'd  fall  down.  I  couldn't  control  it. 

Then  I  tried  to  get  up  one  day  and  I  went  to  use  my  right 
arm  and  I  used  it  a  little  bit  and  it  worked.  A  few  days 
after  that  I  went  in  to  see  Gene  Biscailuz  and,  after 
talking  with  Gene  Biscailuz,  he  invited  me  to  go.  At  that 
time,  of  course,  I  was  way  down  in  my  weight,  weighing  at 
that  time  probably  a  good  Uo  or  50  pounds  less  than  my 
normal  weight,  but  I'd  gained  some.  He  took  me  over  to  a 
Shrine  luncheon  with  him.  I  felt  very  inadequate  going 
with  him,  as  I  felt  I  wasn't  dressed  very  good  and  my 
clothes  looked  a  bit  shabby.  I  went  over  with  him  and  we 
came  on  back,  he  said,  "Now,  Gene  I  want  you  to... in  the 
next  two  or  three  days... let's  find  my  calendar."  So  we 
went  into  his  office  and  got  in  there  and  he  looked  his 
calendar  over  and  called  somebody  on  the  phone  and  said, 
"Gene,  can  you  be  back,  I  think  this  wao  on  a  Monday  or 
Tuesday,  I  want  you  back  here  on  Thursday.  Can  you  be 
here  at  10:00  Thursday  morning?"  I  said  to  him,  "Gene, 
I  can  be  here  at  U:00,  anytime  you  say."  So  I  went  back 
in  and  I  had  quite  a  visit  with  him  that  day. 

We  had  lunch  and  he  stuck  $50.00  in  my  pocket,  this  was 
after  we  got  back  from  the  Shrine  lunch.  He  said,  "Any 
thing  you  need,  you  let  me  know,  I've  got  a  little  fund 
and  that's  what  I've  got  it  for."  I  didn't  know  what  he 
had  put  in  my  pocket,  in  fact,  I  didn't  even  know  about 
this  money  until  I  got  home.  When  I  went  on  back,  he 
said,  "I've  got  a  Job  for  you.  You're  going  to  either 
assist  or  head  up  the  investigation  for  the  Los  Angeles 
County  Grand  Jury.  That  pays  the  same  salary  as  the 
Chief  of  Police  for  the  city  of  Los  Angeles.  There  is 
only  a  few  months  to  go  on  that ,  but  that  will  put  you 
on  your  feet  and  give  you  something  to  do." 

Then  about  this  time  Vollmer  communicated  with  me  and  there 
was  a  post  for  me  to  be  interviewed  on,  to  take  on  investi 
gation  in  that  city.  So  I  went  to,  on  my  own  I  became  Chief 
of  Police  in  a  few  different  cities  that  I  went  to  here  and 
there.  To  reorganize  them  or  to  assist  in  reorganizing  them. 


Woods:       So  Vollraer,  every  time  he  commended  me  very  highly  and 
told  me  he'd  been  in  communication  with  those  people 
and  they  told  him  that  I'd  did  a  very  fine  Job  and  that 
they  liked  me  very  much  because  I'd  tried  to  be  right 
down  to  earth  and  I'd  gained  the  respect  of  the  men  under 
my  command.     Of  course,  when  you  go  to  one  of  these 
departments,   there's  men  that  have  alwayu  been  chief  of 
that  department,   and  they're  not  working  in  your  behalf. 
I'll  tell  you  one  of  the  things  about  Vollraer,  in  his 
trying  to  instill  in  our  minds  things  that  we  must  do 
and  how  we  must  conduct  ourselves   (you  may  have  talked 
to  O.W.   Wilson). 

JRH:       Yes. 

Woods:       Well,  O.W.  Wilson  and  I  were  close   friends.      I  visited  him 
back  in  Wichita  and  he  visited  me.     Then  he  came  to  Los 
Angeles,  where  I'd  been  in  Pasadena  to  reorganize  that  one. 
He  came  there  for  the  same  purpose  —  to  make  a  survey.      Prior 
to  that  when  we  were  both  in  the  same  Police  Department  in 
Berkeley,  we  were  sent  to  West  Berkeley  to  meet  with  a  group 
of  people  consisting  of  about  150  or  200  (whatever  it  was) 
they  were  in  the  category  of  laboring  class,  truck  drivers 
and  wives  and  all  and  quite  a  number  of  people  there.     They 
had  a  lot  of  questions  and  they  wanted  us  to  deliver  a  few 
of  the  "Dos"  and  "Don'ts"  and  so  forth  and  what  is  required 
of  a  policeman  and  all;  and  what  we  requested  of  the  public. 
What  we  were  to  do  was  to  try  to  inform  them  of  the  things 
and  answer  any  questions. 

O.W.    said  to  me,   "Gene,   I'm  15  minutes  older  than  you  are 
in  the  department,  so  let  me  take  the   first  portion."     Well, 
he  talked  and  talked  for  a  good  half  an  hour  and  I  told  him, 
"Whatever  you  do,  O.W.,   don't  talk  over  15  minutes,  let  them 
ask  questions."     By  the  time  you've  talked  thirty  minutes  or 
over  fifteen  minutes  you've  lost  most  of  them,  their  minds 
are  elsewhere  or  they're  lighting  cigarettes  or  carrying  on 
a  few  conversations." 

Okay,  when  he  got  through,  he  said,   "Do  you  want  to  take 
over?"     I  said,   "No."     When  we  left  there  he  said,    "Well, 
I  guess  I  told  them."     I  said,   "Yes,  you  told  them,  what 
damn  fools  we  police  are.     Those  people  haven't  got  any 
more  respect  for  you  than  they  have   for  the  garbage  man 


Woods:  or  anyone  else.   You  talked  way  over  their  heads,  about  half  of 

the  time,  which  wasn't  true.  I  didn't  know  what  you  were  talking 
about.  You  used  language  that  those  people  didn't  understand. 
I  know  you  graduated  with  honors  in  letters  and  science,  but  as 
far  as  being  an  intelligent  person,  you're  a  dumb  ox."  At  any 
rate,  we  always  got  along.  So,  getting  back  to  August  Vollmer. 

With  August  Vollmer,  the  last  few  times  I  visited  with  him  he 
talked  and  of  course,  this  what  do  they  call  it?  He  had 
Parkinson's  Disease.  I  asked  him  one  of  the  questions  I  had 
already  asked  him  —  I  guess  I  asked  as  many  questions  as  anyone 
who  ever  worked  for  him  asked.   I  loved  the  man  and  I  thought  so 
much  of  him.  I  felt  that  I  was  so  close  to  him  that  I  could 
confide  in  him  anything  I  wanted  to.  I  asked  him,  "Chief,  I 
would  like  to  know  something  from  you.   Is  a  men  who  takes  his 
life,  whether  he  jumps  over  the  bridge  or  whether  he  shoots 
himself  to  death  or  whatever  means  that  he  destroys  his  body, 
is  he  a  coward  or  is  he  a  brave  man?"  He  didn't  answer  the  question. 
I  asked  him  repeatedly.   I  said,  "I  have  to  have  a  direct  answer." 
He  said,  "I  wouldn't  be  able  to  answer  that  question."  That 
was  the  closest  he  ever  came  to  telling  the  truth.   I  think  that 
he  even  evaded  a  direct  answer  of  not  being  able  to  truly  answer 
that  question.   But  I've  asked  him  such  questions. 

JRH:  You  mentioned  the  other  questions  you  asked  him  up  towards  his 
death;  whether  or  not... why  he  always  looked  people  over. 

Woods:  He  never  would  answer  that.   He'd  always  evade  that  question  with 
a  smile.  Only  a  half  smile,  because  he  was  too  serious-minded. 
He  said,  "Well,  you  will  formulate  ideas  of  your  own.  Maybe  thete 
ideas  of  yours  are  strictly  your  own  or  may  not  be  concurred  in 
by  others."  That  would  be  the  closest  that  he  would  come  to  ever 
answering  some  of  those  questions.  You  may  have  learned  that  from 
some  of  the  other  people. 

But  you  may  find  and  I  think  everyone  that  would  speak  up,  I  don't 
think  anyone  would  condemn  him.  I  only  condemned  him  once  to 
his  face.  One  time  I  was  very  miserably  beaten  in  that  Police 
Department  by  one  man  that's  been  dead  and  gone  many  years.  I 
made  a  good  Samaritan  out  of  him  and  that  was  Frank  Waterbury.  He 
was  one  of  those  that  whipped  myself;  me  and  another  kid  from 
South  Berkeley.  We  went  in  and  two  other  officers  helped  him; 
they  stripped  us  down. 

We  had  left  school,  we  went  to  the  Lincoln  School  in  South  Berkeley. 
I  lived  there  in  the  house  with  my  brother.  My  dad  and  mother  were 
separated.  We  were  only  little  kids;  my  brother  is  five  years 
older  than  myself.  We  went  to  school  and  it  was  getting  near 
Christmas  time  and  we  didn't  have  enough  to  eat.  My  dad  was  well 
fixed;  could  well  afford  it.  However,  not  condemning  him  —  he's 


Woods:  been  dead  and  gone  for  many  years.  I've  forgiven  bin  in  my  heart 
many  times  for  the  things  that  he  failed  to  do,  or  did  do,  and 
for  failing  to  care  for  us.  This  Letter  Richardson  and  myself  — 
Lester  is  still  living  in  the  Los  Angeles  area  —  we  vent  to  the 
Principal's  office.  I  think  we  were  in  the  fourth  or  fifth  grade. 
This  was  Just  a  few  weeks  before  Christmas  and  we  asked  if  ve 
couldn't  get  out  (we  were  far  enough  in  our  studies).  We'd 
already  solicited  all  the  stores  in  South  Berkeley  to  get  some 
little  Jobs  to  see  if  we  could  earn  some  Christmas  money. 

Both  of  us  stated  that  we'd  like  to  be  able  to  get  enough  to  send 
something,  a  gift,  to  our  mothers  for  Christmas.   So  the  Principal 
told  us  to  get  back  and  he  reached  for  a  strap  —  that  was 
Mr.  Blum.  He  told  us  to  get  out.  Well,  Les  Richardson  shoved  him 
over  in  the  svivel  chair  upsetting  him.  He  pulled  the  key  out  of 
the  door  and  locked  him  in  his  room.  We  left  from  school.  We 
didn't  know  where  we  were  going.  We  went  on  down  the  street  a 
ways  half  running.  About  two  blocks  fromthe  school  we  bumped  into 
a  man.   I  should  remember  his  name,  he  was  an  ex-convict.  We'd 
never  seen  him  before.  He  was  only  about  twenty-three  years  old 
and  he  saw  us  kids  and  he  started  talking  to  us  and  we  walked 
along  with  him.  We  were  headed  in  the  general  direction  from  there 
clear  out  to  West  Berkeley.  We  were  in  South  Berkeley.  We  walked 
<n  the  way  along  and  he  had  money.  He  stopped  and  went  into  a 
bakery  and  he  bought  some  doughnuts  and  cookies.  Boyl  We  thought 
he  was  a  great  guy.  We  had  a  bite  and  went  along  with  him. 

Understand,  this  is  the  only  thing  that  I  went  to  Vollmer  and 
told  him  that  I  condemned  him  for  not  doing  something  about  this 
situation  of  how  badly  we  were  mistreated.   So,  we  finally  wound 
up  by  going  out  to  West  Berkeley  Wharf  (the  Pier)  out  to  the  end. 
We  got  down  into  a  rovboat.  I  don't  know  where  we  were  going; 
this  guy's  taking  us  for  a  ride  (he's  steal ing  it).   I  think  he  was 
starting  to  take  us  across  the  Bay  and  by  this  time  we  were  dis 
covered  and  water... one  of  the  police  officers  was  shooting  at  us 
out  there  in  a  boat.  Three  police  officers  out  there  shooting  at  us. 
These  shots,  one  of  them  went  through  the  boat,  one  of  them  went 
right  near  us  in  the  water.  So  we  headed  on  back  and  we  got  back 
there.  This  fellow's  name  was  Otto  Trenchili.  Well,  we  started  on, 
and  here  they  were,  riding  their  bicycles.  They  came  up  and  they'd 
kick  us  in  the  back  to  make  us  go  faster  up  University  Avenue. 
Finally  when  Trenchili  (of  course,  he  was  tventy-three  years  of  age, 
we  were  only  little  kids )  broke  and  he  ran  and  get  on  the  side  of  a 
car  and  got  away.  Well,  he  was  later  subdued  in  Oakland.  He  shot 
and  killed  an  Oakland  police  officer  about  two  blocks  from  where  I 
lived  on  Alcatraz  Avenue.   So  he  was  shot  and  killed,  and  he  killed 
a  police  officer;  they  both  shot  and  killed  each  other. 

So  later  in  these  years  when  I  was  in  the  department,  I  had  gone  to 
August  Vollmer  and  complained  nearly  a  year  later  after  this  occurred, 
and  complained  of  the  way  we  had  been  treated.   I've  still  got  a 


Woods:     couple  of  marks  on  my  body  that  I  got  from  Waterbury.     But  I  vent 
to  him  about  that  and  he  couldn't  believe  it.     I  stripped  down  in 
his  office  and  shoved  him.      I  said,  "I  vill   always  harbor  ill-vill 
against  that  man."     I  forgot  after  the  years,  no,  I  guess  I  never 
did.     Vollraer  had  he  known  directly  that  this  was  true,  but  he 
didn't  search  to  find  out,  but  I  think  that  if  he  had  he  would 
have  really  done  something  about  it.     My  admiration  for  the  man, 
I'm  sure  that  he  would  have  nothing  like  that  to  take  place. 

JRH:     Then,  he  said  he  hadn't  knovn  about  it,  or... 

Woods:     No.      However,  nothing  was  done  about  it  and  in  later  years  I  dis 
cussed  it  vith  him  again  and  I  told  him  vher.  he  was  going  to  be 
elevated  as  an  Inspector   (this  is  Waterbury),  I  was  opposed  to  that. 
I  didn't  want  to  see  that  happen;  I  didn't  think  he  earned  that 
recognition.     But  the  other  man,  isn't  that  funny  I  don't  remember 
the  others,  but   I  remember  the  man  who  vielded  the  vhip.     That  was 
the  one  with  the  bad  feet.     Let's  see  what  else  you've  got  in  here 
that  you  wanted  to  know  about. 

JRH:     Just  the   stories  like  you've  told  me;   stories  about  what  sort  of  a 
man  he  was.     That  was  an  interesting  one. 

Woods:     Well,  he  came  to  Los  Angeles  and  he  was  down  in  San  Diego.     He  came 

down  and  I  was  down  to  San  Diego.      I  vent  down  there  to  make  a  survey 
in  their  department.     He  vas  down  there,   I  don't  know  what  the 
mission  was,  but  then  I  was  invited  and  I  vent  to  a  luncheon  and 
he  was  there  and  I  had  that ,  and  so  he  also  gave  me  quite  a  send-off 
(for  the  survey  Job)  to  the  people  present  at  this  luncheon. 
There  were  at  least  150  or  200  people  there.      He  gave  me  quite  a 
send-off  and  dating  on  back  of  course,   I'm  going  like  a  round-robin 
trying  to  tell  you  things. 

August  Vollmer,  one  day,  about  1925  I  guess  it  could  have  been   '26, 
1925  or  1926,  he  brought  a  man  into  the  Identification  Bureau  and  he 
said,   "Gene"    (and  whoever  was  there  in  the  office  with  me;  whoever 
was  in  charge  of  the  Identification  Bureau),  he  said,   "I  want  you  to 
meet  Edgar  Hoover.      I  want  you  to  take  him  up  to  meet  vith 
Clarence  Merrill."     Clarence  Morrill  vas  the  head  of  our  Identifica 
tion  Bureau.      He  vas  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department.      He  vas  then 
the  head  of  the  State  Bureau  of  Identification  and  Investigation 
in  Sacramento.      "I  want  you  to  take  him  up  there,  take  him  to  Los 
Angeles,  take  him  here  and  take  him  there.      You  will  be  supplied 
vith  your  expenses."     Edgar  Hoover,  that  didn't  mean  anything  to  me. 
So  after  Edgar  Hoover  was  appointed  in  the  Bureau,  of  course.     The 
Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation  vas  created  then.     After  he  vas 
making  his  rounds  to  learn  something,  to  have  a  smattering  knowledge 
of  police  work.     That  vas  the  thing  that  August  Vollmer  propounded 
to  us  in  every  meeting  at  our  so-called  Creb  Clubs.     Did  anyone 
mention  about  Crab  Clubs? 

JRH:     Yes,  they  mentioned  that  every  Friday... 

Woods:  Once  a  month,  they  couldn't  have  it  every  Friday  because  it  would 
be  too  rough  on  men  as  they  were  working.  Once  a  month,  with  the 
exception  of  maybe  once  or  twice  in  ten  year's  time  that  he'd  call 
a  special  session.  But,  usually  he'd  call  for  key  people  in  his 
office  for  that.  So  that  could  be,  that  he  was  calling  every  week 
by  reason  of  some  select  group  would  have  soae  special  Crab  Club 
business.  He'd  propound  these  things  to  us. 

One  of  them  was,  to  kill  the  public  with  kindness.  Make  yourself 
feel  that  you're  scared  to  death  that  if  you  turn  around  someone 
is  going  to  kick  you  in  the  pants.  That  would  be  the  language  that 
he'd  use  sometimes.  That  you're  being  so  kind  and  nice  to  the 
people.  You  have  to  be,  you're  not  a  Judge,  but  you  have  to  be 
Judge  as  to  whether  you're  doing  the  right  thing  at  that  time  by 
cautioning  people,  advising  them  to  be  more  cautious  in  their 
operating  a  vehicle,  if  they're  crossing  in  the  middle  of  a  block, 
or  any  of  the  things  that  they  might  be  doing.  Stealing  something, 
not  pickpocket ,  but  stealing  some  insignificant  thing  or  doing 
some  little  depredation  of  some  kind.  That  you,  by  talking  to  them 
in  a  fatherly  manner,  you  can  correct  something.  Whereas  you  might 
be  making  an  enemy  of  that  person  and  cause  them  to  dislike  us 
more.  If  you  can  plant  a  seed  of  kindness,  you're  doing  something 
for  the  welfare  of  policemen  in  general.  Tnose  are  the  kinds  of 
things  that  he  talked  to  us  so  much  on.   Invariably  he'd  call  and 
we'd  have  examinations  very  frequently  to  see  whether  different 
ones  and  a  lot  of  these  things  were  carried  out  by  Jack  Greening. 

JRH:  No  one  mentioned  that.   You  had  regular  examinations? 

Woods:  We  had  examinations.  They  would  be  periodical,  at  least  once  every 
two  months.  You  would  have  maybe  examinations  on  the  street  where 
the  fire  boxes  were;  where  the  outlets  were;  even  though  you 
weren't  a  fireman  you  had  to  work  in  conjunction  with  your  fire 
department,  to  aid  and  assist  them.  To  see  that  cars  don't  drive 
over  the  hoses  or  do  whatever  to  get  in  their  way  to  creat  hazards 
or  traffic  Jams,  and  numerous  things  of  thai:  nature.  There  was  so 
much  that  you  could  be  of  service  to  the  public. 

We  would  be  sent  to  the  schools.  Along  with  others  I've  been  in  on 
the  creation  of  the  School  Traffic  Squads,  whers  we  had  those  first 
created.  There  were  two  others  beside  myself  in  on  the  origin  of 
this.  I  can't  think  of  their  names  now,  isn't  that  funny? 

JRH:  I  have  a  name,  a  Mr.  Baird,  could  he  be  one  of  them? 

Woods:  No  he  was  not  in  it,  originally.  He  was  in  it  late.  The  first  one 
in  that ,  gee  —  I  knew  him  so  darn  well .  When  it  was  originally 
created  there  were  only  three.  We'd  given  our  time  to  the  schools 
and  we'd  go  out  there  and  speak  to  them  to  create  something.  We 
went  to  San  Francisco,  too,  to  see  where  we  could  get  somebody  to 
give  us  something.  We  were  trying  to  get  a  half  dozen  kids  out 
fitted  with  something.  We  were  trying  to  get  some  kind  of  grant 
or  something. 


JRH:   I  forget  names  in  two  years,  so  that's  nothing.  You  were  telling 
us,  a  good  deal  of  stories,  anyway. 

Woods:  One  more  thing  I  might  say  is  that  I've  been  in  conflict  with  one 
of  the  Wardens  (Duffy)  over  at  San  Quentin;  he  was  born  and  raised 
over  at  San  Quentin.  His  father  was  a  guard  and  then  later  he 
became  Warden  (Duffy).  He  lives  in  Rossmoor  now.  We  had  quite  a 
little  conflict  and  we  spoke  on  the  subject  Jointly.  He  was 
speaking  in  behalf  of  a  measure  to  outlaw  the  capital  punishment 
and  I  spoke  in  favor  of  capital  punishment.   I  told  him,  "I'll 
tell  you  why,  you  Mr.  Warden,  you  never  were  a  policeman;  you 
never  came  in  contact  with  these  people  on  the  outside.  Only  after 
you  got  them  incarcerated  in  prison.  It's  up  to  you  to  try  to 
instill  something  in  their  heads  there  but,  we,  as  policemen  on  the 
street,  we  come  in  contact  with  these  people."  In  my  case,  I  said, 
"I  was  stabbed  by  an  ex-convict;  I  was  shot  down  by  an  ex-convict. 
I've  come  in  contact  with  some  of  these  hop-heads,  some  of  these 
people,  narcotic  addicts,  where  I  was  only  fortunate  in  one  case  — 
there  were  three  of  them  and  I  was  pretty  well  beaten  up  by  them, 
but  I  managed  to  keep  one  and  I  wouldn't  shoot  a  man  down  unless  I 
absolutely  had  to." 

I  knew  what  the  taste  of  lead  was  and  I  said,  "Now  Mr.  Warden, 
you're  opposing  this.   If  your  mother,  your  wife,  your  daughter 
were  molested  or  were  raped  you'd  be  the  first  man  to  want  to  gouge 
their  eyes,  to  chop  their  fingers  off  and  a  few  other  things  of 
that  nature.   I  went  into  a  department  store  at  2:00  in  the  morning 
where  a  couple  —  the  man  was  the  organist  at  a  theatre,  the  other, 
the  girl  was  the  ticket-taker  at  this  show  house  on  University 
Avenue  —  they  came  down  after  they  were  through  they'd  go  out  for 
a  ride  and  this  fellow  lived  upstairs  over  this  place.   He  went 
up  there  to  get  something  and  the  girl  was  parked  in  his  car.  This 
fellow, the  burglar,  was  down  in  the  store  and  she  saw  him  so  they 
drove  and  saw  me  and  I  asked  them  to  go  directly  to  the  police 
department  and  tell  them  I  need  help.  I  went  up  there  and  I  put  my 
shoulder  (I  was  telling  this  whole  story  to  the  Warden)  to  it  and 
I  went  inside  and  there  were  little  peanut  globes.  If  you  know 
what  a  peanut  globe  is  —  it  emits  very  little  amounts  of  light 
inside  but  you  can  see  your  way  around.  There  I  saw  a  trail  of 
things  spewing  out  down  the  stairs. 

I  went  down  there  and  I  found  in  all  this  rubbish  and  all  this 
crockery  and  everything  else,  the  packing  boxes  were  down  there.   I 
called  out,  I  said,  "Okay  fellow,  throw  your  gun  out  and  come  on  out. 
The  place  is  surrounded  and  you  can't  get  away."  This  guy  threw 
a  .1*5  caliber  gun  out  and  it  scared  the  daylights  out  of  me.   I 
didn't  know  where  it  come  from.  He  was  an  ex-con.  Well,  I  picked 
it  up  and  stuck  it  in  my  belt.  Then  I  composed  myself  evidently 
because  he  never  knew  I  was  scared! 


Woods:  He  came  on  out  there  and  by  this  time  I've  got  him  with  his  hands 
behind  him,  handcuffed.  He  said,  "Well,  I'll  tell  you  Woods,  I 
laid  there  with  this  gun  pointed  at  your  badge;  I  was  planning  to 
kill  you.   I  wasn't  fifteen  feet  away  from  yon."  He'd  gotten  the 
gun  from  the  Armory  which  he'd  burglarized.  But  he  said,  "When 
you  said  this  place  was  surrounded,  I  thought  of  the  rope."  I 
said,  "Mr.  Warden,  my  life  was  saved  by  my  speaking  of  the  rope." 
That  man  feared  the  death  penalty. 


INDEX    Gene  Woods 

Alaraeda,  City  of,  1 

Baird,  Mr.  William  E. ,  lU 
Berkeley,  City  of,  1 

City  Council,  7 

City  Manager,  5 

City  Marshal,  1 

The  Pier,  12 

Police  Department,  1,  2,  U-7,  10 

Identification  Bureau,  3,  13 

Record  Bureau,  3 

South  Berkeley,  11 

West  Berkeley,  U,  10,  11 

Biscailuz,  Gene,  8-9 
Blum,  Mr.,  12 
Brereton,  George,  k 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Identification,  U,  5 

Highway  Patrol,  8 
"Crab  Clubs",  13-11* 

Duffy,  Clinton,  Warden,  15-16 
Edy,  John  N.,  6 

Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation,  13 
Greening,  John  A.  "Jack",  U,  5,  lU 

Hoi strom,  John  D. ,  1 
Hoover,  J.  Edgar,  13 

International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  7 

Lee,  Clarence,  5-6 
Lincoln  School,  11 
Los  Angeles,  City  of,  1,  13 

Sheriff's  Office,  8 

County  Grand  Jury,  9 

Morrill,  Clarence,  13 
Mull,  Grorer,  5 

Nanking,  1 


Oakland,  City  of,     1,  12 

Parkinson's  Disease,     11 
Pasadena,  City  of,     9 
Police  Procedures,     2-3,  10,  13-1 U 
Prohibition,     U 

Richardson,  Lester,     12 

Hossrooor,   15 

Sacramento,  City  of,     13 
San  Diego,     13 
San  Francisco,  City,     1,  lU 
San  Quentin  Prison,     lU 
School  Traffic  Squads,     lU 

Trenchill,  Otto,     12 
University  of  California,     2 

Water bury,  Frank,     13 
Wichita,  Kansas,     9 
Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,     10 

YMCA,     2 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/ Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollner  Historical  Project 

Al  Coffey 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

©  1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


A.L.  Coffey  was  born  in  1907  and  served  as  August  Vollmer's  secre 
tary  from  1931-3.  He  remained  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  for 
several  years,  and  later  went  on  to  reach  the  position  of  Chief  of  the 
Bureau  of  Identification  and  Investigation.  Mr.  Coffey  brings  the  per 
spective  of  a  career  police  professional  to  this  August  Vollmer  series. 

Interviewer:  Jane  Howard 

Time  and  Set 
ting  of 
Interview:    One  interview  was  conducted,  on  August  9,  1971,  in 

Mr.  Coffey's  ranch-style  home  in  Sacramento.  The  interview 
began  at  9:30  a.m.  and  concluded  at  10:30  a.m. 


Account  of 
Mr.  Coffey 
and  the 
Progress  of 
the  Inter 

The  interview  was  corrected  for  spelling  and  punctuation 
errors  by  Jane  Howard.  In  addition,  after  consultation  with 
the  Bancroft  Library  Regional  Oral  History  Office  regarding 
the  appropriate  procedures,  several  interesting  anecdotes 
related  by  Mr.  Coffey  off  the  tape  were  pharaphrased .   Sug 
gestions  were  made  on  points  for  inclusion  of  these  anecdotes 
points  in  the  written  transcript.  Mr.  Coffey  edited  the 
transcript  extensively  for  style,  but  did  make  only  minor 
deletions  of  information.  He  also  agreed  to  the  inclusion  of 
all  but  one  anecdote.  These  anecdotes  are  now  part  of  the 
written  transcript. 

Mr.  Coffey  was  born  in  1907,  in  Fresno  County,  California.  He 
attended  Armstrong  Business  College  in  Berkeley,  and  the 
University  of  California.  Coffey  worked  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department  for  thirteen  years,  in  a  variety  of  assign 
ments,  including  patrolman,  sergeant,  and  inspector.  During 
World  War  II  he  served  in  the  Pacific  in  the  Marine  Corps. 
After  the  war,  A.L.  Coffey  worked  in  the  Bureau  of  Criminal 
Identification  and  Investigation,  serving  as  supervisor  of 
the  investigation  section,  and  then  Chief  of  the  Bureau.  He 
was  a  lecturer  at  the  University  of  California  in  1958-59. 
Mr.  Coffey  retired  from  the  Bureau  in  December  1971. 


A.L.  Coffey  (contd. ) 

Coffey  opens  the  interview  by  stating  that  he  served  as 
August  Vollmer's  secretary  from  1931-33.   He  found  Vollmer 
to  be  a  nan  who  knev  what  he  wanted,  a  man  who  followed  his 
own  clearly  thought  out  set  of  principles,  and  a  man  who 
paid  careful  attention  to  detail.  Coffey  found  that  Vollmer 
attacked  problems  very  aggressively,  and  with  a  sense  of 
direction.  During  Vollmer's  tenure,  Coffey  reports,  morale 
in  the  department  was  extremely  high;  Vollmer  related  well 
to  all  staff  and  all  members  of  the  department  respected 
and  admired  him. 

Turning  to  Vollmer's  professional  role. v  Coffey  mentions 
Vollmer's  work  promoting  the  formation  of  the  Bureau  of 
Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  his  leadership  in 
the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  and  his 
extensive  correspondence  with  police  officers  throughout  the 
country  and  the  world.  Coffey  discusses  Vollmer's  efforts  to 
make  policing  nonpolitical ,  and  his  deep  involvement  in  the 
Berkeley  community. 

Coffey  tells  two  stories:  one,  on  Vollmer's  conflict  with 
the  Berkeley  city  manager,  in  1933,  over  police  salaries.  He 
also  remembers  meeting  Vollmer  accidentally  in  a  speakeasy 
during  prohibition. 

The  conversation  turns  to  a  consideration  of  the  types  of 
correspondence  Vollmer  handled.  Mr.  Coffey  recalls  that  it 
covered  a  wide  range  from  chatty  letters  to  long  time  friends, 
to  responses  to  citizens'  requests  for  information,  to  technical 
advise  to  fellow  police  professionals.   Ccffey  mentions  here, 
as  he  does  at  several  other  points  in  the  interview,  that 
although  Vollmer  sometimes  seemed  to  be  austere,  his  corres 
pondence  revealed  great  warmth  and  gregariousness. 

In  response  to  a  final  question  from  the  interviewer,  Coffey 
comments  that  when  Vollmer  met  with  opposition  to  his  ideas, 
he  would  listen  openly  to  discussion  until  he  came  to  a 
decision  and  would  then  act  forcefully  to  carry  out  that 

Jane  Howard 

ALC:  Well,  let's  follow  your  questionnaire  then,  as  a  beginning  at 
least.   How  did  I  get  to  know  Vollmer?  1  was  his  secretary  at 
the  police  department  in  1931  continuing  for  about  two  years. 

JRH:  Was  he  still  on  the  force  then? 

ALC:  He  was  still  Chief  of  Police  but  apparently  had  a  part-time 

arrangement.   I  had  Just  Joined  the  department  and  Vollmer  was 
teaching  at  the  University  of  California.  He  would  come  to 
the  Police  Department  in  the  late  afternoon  to  take  care  of  his 
correspondence.  He  would  dictate  from  U  p.m.  to  6  p.m.  or  later 
and  then  leave.   I  had  the  balance  of  the  night  for  transcription 
and  getting  the  work  out. 

JRH:  So  you  would  work  evenings  for  him  then? 

ALC:   I  was  assigned  on  the  U  p.m.  to  midnight  watch.  Through  hand 
ling  his  correspondence  I  got  some  insight  into  the  things  he 
was  doing  and  the  manner  in  which  he  functioned. 

JRH:  Was  he  officially  with  the  Police  Department? 

ALC:  Yes,  he  was  still  officially  with  the  Department  as  Chief  even 
while  he  was  at  the  University.  Then  Captain,  who  later  became 
Chief  Greening  after  Vollmer1 s  retirement  actually  was  doing  a 
great  deal  of  the  administration  of  the  Department. 

Under  these  circumstances  my  acquaintance  with  Vollmer  was  as  an 
employee.   I  did  not  have  a  continuing  contact  with  him  and  never 
developed  a  personal  relationship  with  him  as  some  of  the  other 
members  of  the  Department  did. 

You  also  asked  what  effect  he  had  on  my  life  both  personally  and 
professionally.   I  think  I'd  have  to  answer  that  I  was  influenced 
by  example  rather  than  precept.  To  a  person  as  young  as  I  was 
Vollmer  was  an  impressive  figure  of  a  man.  Physically,  he  was 
above  average  height,  rather  sparely  built  with  an  erect  almost 
military  bearing.  He  was  beyond  middle  age  and  impressed  me  as 
being  a  somewhat  austere,  not  particularly  warm  sort  of  person 

Again  my  reaction  to  him  was  that  he  was  a  very  incisive  sort  of 
person  who  knew  pretty  well  what  he  wanted.   I  think  his  decisions 
were  made  relatively  easy  for  him  because  of  his  adherence  to 
a  set  of  well  defined  principles.   I  felt  that  he  lived  with  a 
personal  philosophy  which  enabled  decision  without  too  much 
emotional  involvement. 

I've  gotten  into  your  second  question  as  to  the  kind  of  man  he  was. 
One  of  the  things  which  impressed  me  most  about  him  was  that  within 

ALC:  my  experience  he  was  a  perfectionist.  At  that  tine  he  was 

writing  for  publication  a  lot;  magazine  articles,  book  reviews 
and  that  sort  of  thing.  He  would  polish,  re-polish  and  re- 
polish  an  article  until  it  net  his  every  requirement. 

Another  thing  which  made  a  lasting  impression  on  me,  and  maybe 
itfs  saying  the  same  thing  a  little  differently,  was  the  fact 
that  he  organized  himself  and  his  work  more  precisely  than 
almost  any  other  person  I've  ever  known.  He  would  prepare  for 
dictation,  have  his  material  laid  out  on  his  desk  in  the  order 
he  wanted  to  handle  it ,  and  knew  exactly  how  he  wanted  to  handle 
each  item.  He  would  run  through  a  heavy  correspondence  schedule 
and  then  he  would  rough  out  the  articles  he  was  writing.  The 
next  evening  he  would  revise  the  articles.  We  would  do  this  over 
and  over  and  over  again  until  he  was  satisfied. 

JRH:  Would  he  outline  his  correspondence? 

ALC:  No,  he  had  the  correspondence  he  wanted  to  respond  to  stacked  on 
his  desk  and  he  would  run  through  it  piece  by  piece.   I  mentioned 
earlier  that  I  felt  him  to  be  a  very  incisive  rather  austere 
person  and  yet  this  has  to  be  balanced  against  the  fact  that  from 
his  correspondence,  his  letters  to  friends  he  had  known  years 
earlier  when  he  was  younger,  he  had  been  a  very  warm  and  gregarious 
person.  He  maintained  correspondence  with  people  in  all  walks 
of  life  and  some  of  his  references  to  occurrences  years  before 
left  me  with  the  impression  that  he  had  been  in  his  time  the 
equivalent  of  what  we  now  might  call  a  "swinger."  At  the  time  I 
knew  him  he  had  suffered  a  heart  attack,  possibly  this  contributed 
to  a  change  of  pace  for  him.  Also  he  had  stopped  smoking  at 
that  time. 

JRH:  How  old  was  he  when  you  knew  him,  in  his  late  UO's? 

ALC:  No,  I  think  he  must  have  been  pretty  well  into  his  50' s,  because 
he  was  eligible  to  retire  which  he  did  around  1933,  so  he  must 
have  been  approaching  his  60's.  You,of  course, have  his  early 
background  —  the  mail  carrier  thing  and  his  tenure  as  Marshal 
before  the  formation  of  the  police  department. 

JRH:  Very  few  people  have  known  much  about  him  during  this  early  period. 

ALC:   I  don't  really  have  any  stories  about  him  except  the  history.  As 
I  understand  it,  he  had  been  a  mail  carrier  in  Berkeley,  had 
subsequently  been  elected  City  Marshal  and  when  the  police  de 
partment  was  organized  he  was  appointed  Chief  of  Police. 

I  can't  give  you  the  name  of  the  person  but  my  information  was 
that  Vollmer  was  greatly  influenced  in  the  administration  of  the 
police  department  and  in  many  of  the  policies  he  initiated  by  an 
official  of  the  Oakland  Police  Department.  That  man  had  a 
decided  influence  on  him. 

ALC:  Maybe  because  the  Berkeley  Department  in  those  early  days  was 
in  its  formative  stages  Vollner  vas  able  to  do  a  lot  of  inno 
vative  thinking  and  initiate  some  advanced  practices  and 
policies  without  having  to  overcome  the  inertia  of  long  estab 
lished  procedures  as  would  have  been  the  case  in  a  department 
which  had  been  in  operation  many  years. 

Another  of  the  things  about  Vollaer  which  made  a  lasting  im 
pression  on  me  was  an  apparent  tendency  to  attack  a  problem. 
Physically  he  appeared  to  be  a  quick  moving,  well  coordinated 
athletic  type  person  and  I  felt  his  mental  processes  were 
consistent  with  the  physical.  To  my  knowledge  he  never  pro 
crastinated  and  I  felt  that  he  had  a  pattern  planned  for  his 

JRH:  Do  you  think  for  example  he  intended  to  go  on  and  start  a  school 
in  Berkeley?  Is  that  what  you  mean,  in  that  sense? 

ALC:  No,  I  don't  think  so.   I  don't  mean  that  he  had  tunnel  vision. 
Rather  that  he  had  generated  a  well  defined  eet  of  personal 
principles,  that  he  knew  pretty  well  what  he  wanted  to  accom 
plish,  knew  where  he  was  going  and  thought  in  terms  of  the 
future  rather  than  Just  living  in  a  day  to  day  situation  meeting 
things  as  they  developed. 

He  had  a  strong  impact  on  the  people  around  him.  Everybody  in 
the  department  and  within  my  experience,  most  of  the  people 
around  him,  accepted  him  as  a  leader.   I  *elt  there  was  less 
friction,  less  internal  dissension  in  the  department  during  his 
tenure  than  at  any  subsequent  time.  Many  of  the  people  with 
whom  I  worked  have  said  in  effect,  "I've  never  gone  in  to  talk 
to  the  Old  Man  without  coming  away  with  some  new  ideas  or  some 
additional  thoughts  on  a  problem." 

Because  he  was  such  a  positive  individual  I  have  felt  that  his 
act  of  suicide  when  he  learned  the  nature  and  extent  of  his 
illness  was  consistent  with  his  aggressive  relationship  to 
life.  I'm  sure  it  was  not  done  in  panic  or  from  fear  but  rather 
that  it  was  a  calculated  well  considered  decision. 

JRH:  Do  you  think  some  people  might  have  been  afraid  of  him  by  his 
austerity  at  all? 

ALC:  No  I  don't  think  so.  As  a  matter  of  fact  he  had  a  much  closer, 
less  formal  relationship  with  some  people  on  the  department  than 
in  my  case.   I  have  reason  to  know  that  there  were  times  when 
he  acted  very  paternalistically  toward  some  members  of  the  group. 
There  were  at  that  time  actually  about  four  generations  on  the 
department.  There  was  the  generation  of  Vollmer  himself  including 
the  original  personnel;  there  were  the  people  who  had  come  along 
subsequently  who  were  on  their  way  up  through  the  ranks.  There 
was  a  generation  of  patrolmen  ahead  of  my  time;  and  then  the 
generation  which  included  John  Holstrom,  myself  and  others. 

ALC:  How  did  he  relate  to  the  people  he  dealt  with  on  a  frequent 
and  close  basis;  to  friends,  employees,  or  professional 
colleagues?  His  relationships  I  think  were  almost  uniformly 
good.  Personally,  of  all  the  people  I  have  ever  worked  for  I 
enjoyed  him  most.  I  never  before  or  since  worked  harder  or 
more  enthusiastically.  I  think  most  people  were  inspired 

The  only  additional  comment  I  might  make  would  be  that  I  was 
well  aware  of  his  professional  stature,  where  he  was  out 
standing.  Police  officials  throughout  the  world  acknowledged 
him  as  a  leader  in  the  profession;  a  man  in  the  forefront  of 
the  developing  police  science. 

JRH:  Internationally  who  were  some  of  the  people? 

ALC:  He  carried  on  a  continuous  and  extensive  correspondence  with 

police  officials  and  government  officials  throughout  the  United 
States  and  the  world,  among  whom  were  administrators  from 
Scotland  Yard  in  London,  the  French  Surete  in  Paris  and  most 
all  the  other  world  capitals. 

He  had  been  as  I'm  sure  you  know,  one  of  the  early  presidents 
of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefe  of  Police.  He  also 
played  a  major  part  in  the  promotion  and  lobbying  of  the  legis 
lature  which  preceded  the  establishment  of  the  California  Bureau 
of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation. 

The  reason  and  the  need  for  this  Bureau  of  course  was  that  at 
that  time  the  police  had  the  problem  of  adapting  to  the  mobility 
of  offenders  who  were  transient.  During  those  years  for 
instance,  in  booking  felony  prisoners  we  took  nineteen  sets  of 
fingerprints,  one  for  our  own  files,  the  others  for  exchange 
with  other  departments  in  the  Bay  Area  and  Statewide  in  an 
effort  to  provide  information  as  to  possible  offenses  or  offenders 
in  other  Jurisdictions.  For  these  reasons  Vollmer  earlier  Joined 
with  other  police  officials  and  lobbied  for  the  establishment 
by  the  State  of  a  central  records  keeping  depository.  The  Bureau 
of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation  grew  out  of  those 

JRH:  Do  you  know  who  he  would  talk  to  to  get  it  established?  You  say 
he  lobbied  for  it;  what  did  he  have  to  do  to  get  it  started? 

ALC:  Because  it  was  intended  and  designed  as  a  state  function  it  was 
necessary  to  convince  the  members  of  the  State  Legislature  that 
the  proposal  was  valid,  that  there  was  a  need,  that  it  was 
legitimately  a  state  activity,  and  that  the  legislature  should 
appropriate  the  necessary  monies. 

JRH:  What  I'm  thinking  is  were  you  ever  involved  with  say  writing 
some  of  the  letters  in  the  process  of  getting  legislation 

ALC:  Mot  too  much.  The  State  Bureau  was  in  operation  before  I 

Joined  the  Police  Department.  Also  at  that  time  law  enforce 
ment  even  more  than  now,  was  regarded  as  being  a  local  concern. 
As  a  consequence  there  was  not  as  much  legislation  in  those 
days  which  affected  law  enforcement.  Law  enforcement  now  is 
demanding  a  great  deal  of  attention  from  everyone  and  there  is 
much  scrutiny  of  law  enforcement  activities  these  days. 

In  what  ways  was  he  influential  in  the  community  in  Berkeley  and 
in  Alameda  County?  I  think  that  Vollmer  was  most  responsible 
for  the  acceptance  and  support  of  the  department  by  the  community. 
He  recognized  the  need  for  community  support  and  the  department 
in  those  early  days  had  almost  solid  public  support. 

The  Berkeley  Department  under  Vollmer  was  one  of  the  first  police 
agencies  in  the  country  to  recruit  employees  on  the  basis  of 
ability  rather  than  appointing  on  the  basis  of  political  connec 
tions  or  pressure.   It  was  first  also  to  recognize  the  need  for 
psychiatric  evaluations  of  applicants  and  as  early  as  1930 
utilized  the  services  of  a  psychiatrist  for  recruiting.   Since 
those  days  law  enforcement  generally  has  made  every  effort  to 
avoid  political  interference,  or  political  or  partisan  activity. 
Vollmer  I'm  certain,  contributed  greatly  to  this  philosophy  that 
law  enforcement  should  remain  non-political.  Because  of  his 
stature  as  an  enforcement  official  and  because  he  made  every  effort 
to  maintain  good  press  relations  Vollmer  spoke  with  authority  in 
both  the  city  and  county. 

JRH:   I  understand  he  made  a  lot  of  speeches  in  the  community  which 

kept  the  community  aware  of  what  was  going  on.  Did  you  help  him 
with  any  of  these? 

ALC:  Not  so  far  as  his  speeches  were  concerned.  He  encouraged  depart 
ment  personnel  to  become  involved  in  civic  activities,  to  Join 
local  service  clubs,  and  participate  generally  in  community  life, 
as  he  encouraged  them  to  continue  education  activity.   I  think 
another  thing  which  contributed  to  Vollmer' s  stature  in  the 
community  and  generally  was  that  with  his  rise  to  prominence  he 
was  frequently  invited  to  survey  major  departments  throughout  the 
country  and  to  serve  as  consultant  in  the  upgrading  of  other  law 
enforcement  agencies.  As  I  have  indicated  he  also  published  a 
great  deal,  writing  on  many  phases  of  law  enforcement. 

Solar  as  anecdotes  or  stories  I  recall,  the  outstanding  recollection 
that  I  have  can  only  reinforce  the  comments  made  earlier. 
Vollmer 's  retirement  actually  resulted  from  a  disagreement  with 
the  City  Administrator  over  police  salaries.   It  was,  I  believe, 
in  1933  that  the  then  City  Manager,  Hollis  Thompson,  caaae  to 

ALC:  Vollraer's  office  during  the  dictation  session.  Because  of  the 
Depression,  Thompson  indicated  that  he  felt  it  advisable  to 
reduce  police  salaries.  Vollmer's  response  vas  a  positive  "The 
day  you  cut  salaries  in  the  Police  Department  you  can  go  out 
and  buy  yourself  a  new  Chief  of  Police."  Thompson  did  cut 
salaries  and  Vollmer  took  his  retirement,  I  believe  for  that 
reason  only. 

I  also  remember  going,  after  a  Stanford-University  of  California 
game,  with  a  friend  to  a  speakeasy  in  the  Santa  Cruz  Mountains 
during  the  Prohibition  era.  We  ran  into  August  Vollmer  and  the 
man  vho  later  became  Chief  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department , 
Captain  J.A.  Greening,  and  his  wife.  Neither  the  Vollmer  party 
nor  the  Coffey  party  acknowledged  each  other  and  very  shortly 
Vollmer  and  Greening  got  up  and  left.  I  vas  surprised  to  see 
them  there,  in  a  way,  although  I  knew  that  la  his  earlier  days, 
Mr.  Vollmer  had  really  been  quite  a  "goer.1"  I  got  the  impression 
that  Vollmer  was  well-known  in  the  speakeasy  from  the  way  he 
chatted  with  the  people  there.   I  have  the  general  impression 
that  Vollmer  was  very  sociable  in  his  youth,  and  well-known  in 
the  Berkeley  area  bars  and  very  popular  with  women  as  well  as  men. 

JRH:   I'd  be  interested  if  you  can  describe  some  of  the  kinds  of 
correspondence  he  was  working  with  at  that  time. 

ALC:  It  covered  a  wide  range.  Apart  from  the  normal  business  of  the 
Police  Department  most  of  it  dealt  with  general  police  problems 
and  procedures.  He  discussed  problems,  and  made  recommendations 
or  offered  suggestions  in  responding  to  correspondence  from 
administrators  in  other  departments. 

JRH:  Ones  he  had  »et  or  hadn't  met,  I  wonder? 

ALC:  Both.  A  great  many  he  was  acquainted  with  because  of  his  tenure 
as  President  of  the  International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police. 
The  others  were  Just  a  wide  range  of  people  asking  for  information 
or  advice  so  far  as  police  activities  were  concerned.  Many 
inquiries  were  from  university  students  or  professors.  Other  than 
that  sort  of  thing  much  of  his  correspondence  was  exchanges  with 
acquaintances  or  friends  of  many  years.  Here  again  despite  his 
outward  austerity  and  apparent  sternness,  he  had  a  capacity  for 
expressing  himself  very  warmly  and  humanly.  For  a  long  time  I 
kept  copies  of  some  of  his  letters  to  old  friends,  letters  of 
condolence  or  sympathy  because  of  death  or  illness. 

JRH:  Since  he  did  introduce  so  many  innovations,  presumably  he  ran  into 
a  lot  of  opposition  with  some  of  them.  How  did  he  handle  it? 

ALC:   I  don't  really  know  that  he  met  serious  opposition  from  his  own 
community.   I'm  sure  he  met  disagreement  and  argument  from  other 
departments.   In  keeping  with  his  general  makeup  I'm  sure  that 
he  would  listen  to  any  discussion  with  an  open  mind  until  he 

ALC:  came  to  a  decision,  then  override  or  ignore  the  opposition.  One 
area  of  disagreement  of  course  was  Vollmer's  recruitment  policies. 
He  recruited  at  age  21  and  in  those  days  most  departments  would 
not  appoint  under  age  25  or  in  some  instances  27  years.  Then  too, 
his  emphasis  on  education  and  professionalism.  Both  of  these 
factors  have  since  become  standard  practices  but  in  those  days 
we  (Berkeley  officers)  were  widely  and  deprecatingly  known  as 
the  "college  cops"  or  the  "whiz  kids"  and  other  such  terms. 

Even  then  also,  and  despite  Vollmer's  unquestioned  public  support, 
money  for  law  enforcement  was  a  problem.  This  probably  generated 
some  opposition  at  times  when  he  requested  funds  for  untried 
new  ideas. 

JRH:  How  did  he  manage  it  before  1933?  I  guess  he  managed  to  get 
pretty  good  funding  for  his  police  department? 

ALC:   I  believe  so,  but  of  course  I  don't  know  how  long,  how  many 

budget  periods  it  took  for  him  to  get  these  things  accomplished. 
I  suspect  even  then  he  had  to  pioneer,  educate,  amass  supporting 
data,  and  argue,  as  police  administrators  do  in  these  days. 


INDEX    A.L.  Co f fey 

Berkeley  Police  Department,  1-3,  5-6 
recruitment  policies,  5-7 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification 
and  Investigation,  U 
Legislature,  U 

Greening,  Captain  J.A. ,  1 

Holstrom,  John,  3 

International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  U,  6 

Oakland  Police  Department,  2 

Scotland  Yard,  1» 

Stanford  -  University  of  California  Game,  6 

Surete" ,  k 

Thompson,  Hollis,  5-6 
University  of  California,  1 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library /Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollner  Historical  Project 

George  Brereton 


An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

©  1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


George  Brereton,  born  1901,  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part 
of  the  series  on  August  Vollmer.  Mr.  Brereton  brings  the  perspective  of 
a  leader  in  California  law  enforcement  who  worked  with  Mr.  Vollaer  during 
Vollmer 's  tenure  as  Chief  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 

Interviewer:      Jane  Howard 

Time  and  Setting 

of  the  Interview:  One  interview  was  conducted  on  July  9,  1971,  with 

Mr.  Brereton  in  his  antique  furnished  home  in 
Sacramento,  California.  The  interview  began  around 
11:30  a.m.  and  concluded  at  approximately  1:00  p.m. 

Editing:          Editing  of  the  transcripts  was  done  by  Jane  Howard. 

Paragraphing,  correction  of  some  misspelled  names 
and  punctuation  was  done.  A  section  unclear  from 
the  tape  to  the  typists  was  filled  in.  The  changes 
were  minor.  Mr.  Brereton  edited  extensively.   He 
made  many  changes  to  eliminate  informal  English  in 
the  interview.  He  also  expanded  on  some  of  the  ideas 
and  concepts  discussed. 

Narrative  Account 

of  George  Brereton 

and  the  Progress   George  Brereton,  born  in  1901  in  Mendicino,  California, 

of  the  Interview:  received  an  M.A.  degree  in  history  from  the  University 

of  California  at  Berkeley  in  1926.  He  continued 
graduate  studies  toward  a  Ph.D.  through  1929. 

Mr.  Brereton' s  professional  career  began  in  1922,  when 
he  took  a  Job  as  a  Berkeley  policeman  while  still  an 
undergraduate.   He  continued  to  work  for  the  Department 
through  1929.  In  1930  he  became  director  of  the  first 
police  training  school  in  the  United  States,  at  San 
Jose  State  College. 

Subsequent  professional  experience  includes  six  years 
with  the  San  Diego  Sheriff's  Department  and  service  in 
the  U.S.  Havy  during  World  War  II.  Brereton  became 
Chief  of  the  California  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification 
and  Investigation  in  19^5  and  rose  to  Deputy  Director  of 
the  State  Department  of  Justice  by  I960.  He  retired  in 


George  Brereton  (contd.  ) 

Mr.  Brereton  is  the  author  of  many  articles  on  police 
training,  police  professionalism,  and  on  California 
lav  enforcement  agencies. 

The  interview  follows  the  question  outline  Quite 
closely.  Mr.  Brereton  explains  that  he  cane  into 
policing  because  he  needed  a  Job,  but  decided  to  remain 
in  the  field  because  of  the  impression  August  Vollmer 
made  on  him.  Mr.  Vollmer  was  always  fair  and  supported 
and  encouraged  his  men,  he  says. 

Mr.  Brereton  talks  of  Vollmer 's  stress  on  courtesy 
toward  the  public,  and  of  his  national  and  international 
influence  and  of  his  drive  and  energy. 

In  response  to  the  question  on  Vollmer 's  state  influence, 
Brereton  discusses  Vollmer 's  role  in  establishing  the 
Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation  and 
his  work  with  Earl  Warren  on  enforcing  prohibition.  He 
also  mentions  his  own  assignment  as  an  undercover  agent 
to  get  evidence  on  Contra  Costa  gambling  and  bootlegging. 

In  relation  to  Berkeley,  Mr.  Brereton  recalls  the 
cooperative  relation  between  Berkeley  fraternities  and 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department,  and  Vollmer1 s  acquain 
tance  with  University  of  California,  Berkeley  presidents. 

Mr.  Brereton  touches  on  Vollmer 's  principles,  and  his 
kindness  to  staff,  in  response  to  questionnaire  items. 

The  tape  concludes  with  a  discussion  of  other  men  who 
might  be  good  interview  subjects. 

Jane  Howard 

BRERETON:  ty  father  was  the  first  Chief  of  Law  Enforcement  for  the  United 
States  Forest  Service  in  the  California  Natural  Forest  and  his 
office  was  in  San  Francisco.   In  his  work  he  became  a  good  friend 
of  August  Vollmer.  Also  in  those  days  my  mother  was  a  teacher 
and  my  father  had  been  a  teacher  some  years  before.  But  they 
didn't  have  very  much  money,  so  going  to  college  was  a  matter  of 
trying  to  work  my  way  through  and  the  first  two  years  I  went  to 
college,  I  "waited  on  table"  at  my  fraternity  house  and  I  did 
different  Jobs. 

One  day  my  father  said,  "Why  don't  you  take  the  examination  for 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department?"  and,  if  you  will  pardon  the  ex 
pression,  I  said,  "What  the  hell  do  I  want  to  be  a  policeman  for?" 
He  said,  "Well,  one  reason  is  that  they  pay  $175  a  month."  And 
I  said,  "$175  a  month?"  He  said,  "Yes,  and  there  are  several 
college  fellows  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department"  and  he  said 
"Chief  Vollmer  and  I  have  been  talking  and  he  asked  me  why  don't 
your  son  take  the  examination." 

Since  times  were  bad,  (just  like  they  are  today  for  young  people 
trying  to  get  Jobs  in  anything  —  my  grandchildren  for  example 
and  my  son,  who  after  15  1/2  years  as  a  Senior  Mechanical  Engi 
neer  lost  his  Job  at  Project  Sacramento. )  I  took  the  examination 
and  8  or  9  months  later  was  notified  to  report  for  work  on  the 
midnight  shift.   In  those  days  they  gave  various  tests,  and  psy 
chological  examinations.  Dr.  John  Ball  was  one  of  the  consultants 
that  Chief  Vollmer  had  and  a  Dr.  Rowell  was  also  one  of  the 
interviewers.  He  has  since  passed  away.   He  was  not  related  to 
the  Rowell 's  of  Fresno  or  the  editor  of  the  San  Francisco  Chronicle; 
in  fact,  those  Rovells  were  related  to  my  first  wife  who  is 

Anyway,  I  took  the  exam  and  went  to  work  and  at  that  time  was 
taking  18  units  in  mining  engineering.  Actually  I  think  I  ended 
up  with  an  incomplete  in  my  civil  engineering  course  because  I 
didn't  have  time  to  finish  my  surveying  —  which  we  did  on  the 
hillside  back  of  the  Greek  Theater.  That  was  one  reason  which 
caused  me  to  change  my  course  from  Mining  Engineering  because  I 
would  have  to  have  given  up  my  police  Job  and  gone  out  into  a 
mine  during  the  Summer  starting  my  Junior  year  for  three  months ; 
secondly,  I  wasn't  doing  too  well  in  chemistry,  although  I  did 
receive  good  grades  in  high  school.  I  didn't  care  for  the  particular 
section  leader  in  Chem  1A  so,  to  make  a  long  story  short,  I 

BP.ERETON:  changed  my  couse  and  majored  in  history  and  ninored  in  political 
science  and  economics. 

In  the  early  days,  (at  that  time  I  think  I  vas  the  35th  policeman 
who  came  on  the  Police  Department)  they  gave  you  the  number  of 
the  last  man  to  leave  the  department;  in  fr.ct,  I  think  I  still 
have  the  old  badge  around  some  place.  What  I  should  do  is  find 
that  and  give  it  to  you;  Badge  No.  1  —  that  vat  my  number. 
Somebody  had  either  died  or  retired  and  so  I  had  No.  1  although 
I  vas  not  number  one  in  the  police  department.  We  vould  all  vork 
six  days  a  veek  and  the  newest  patrolman  vould  get  the  last 
choice  of  shifts,  so  that  is  vhy  I  vent  on  the  "graveyard"  (12 
midnight  to  8  a.m.).   I  also  got  the  last  choice  of  vacations, 
after  everybody  else  had  made  their  selection,  and  college  could 
not  interfere  vith  your  police  vork.  Lots  of  times  ve'd  have 
to  have  longer  hours  and  so  we'd  have  to  cut  class  and  that  sort 
of  thing. 

But,  Vollmer  was  a  very  wonderful  person.  I  had  a  very  high  regard 
for  him,  as  did  the  others.  He,  of  course,  had  had  no  great  amount 
of  formal  education.   I'm  not  quite  sure,  but  I  don't  believe  he 
even  went  to  high  school.  I  think  he  Just  finished  grammar  school. 
As  I  remember  hearing  him  tell  about  it,  he  was  in  the  Spanish- 
American  War  and  came  back  to  Berkeley  and  became  a  postman  and  he 
made  a  lot  of  friends  so  that  when  a  constable  was  needed  he  was 
elected  City  Constable  of  Berkeley.  Then,  as  time  went  on,  he  self- 
educated  himself  and  became  a  very,  very  highly  educated  man.  He 
had  that  ability.  He  was  a  terrific  reader  and  had  developed  a  fine 
library  by  the  time  I  came  in  the  department,  April  the  7th,  1922. 
He  had  become  well  knovn,  internationally  known,  and  he  was  great  for 
training  and  for  newer  theories.  That's  the  reason  why  he  encouraged 
university  students  to  come  into  the  police  department.   It  was 
his  belief  that  eventually  all  policemen  would  be  required  to  have 
a  college  education  and,  of  course,  you  see  how  that  belief  has 
progressed.  Even  though  he  had  little  formal  education  himself  he 
was  certainly  far  better  educated  than  many  college  graduates  be 
cause  he  was  a  terrific  reader.  As  time  went  on  he  became  an  out 
standing  important  police  expert  and  made  a  great  many  surveys 
(I've  forgotten  how  many  he  made)  and  traveled  around  the  United 
States  and  the  world.  But  personally,  I  never  had  any  relationship 
with  him.  I  was  a  patrolman  there  only. 

Of  course,  he  did  have  a  important  and  lasting  impact  on  my  life  and 
I  had  the  highest  regard  for  him  because  of  his  intelligence  and  his 
self-education.  He  knew  far  more  than  a  great  many  professors  on 
problems  of  policing  and  lav  enforcement,  psychology  of  people,  etc. 
Although  I  had  changed  my  course  and  planned  to  become  a  college 
professor  and  teach  history  (and  did  in  fact  teach  history),  actually 
the  impact  he  made  on  me  caused  me  to  remain  in  lav  enforcement  and, 
as  time  vent  on,  more  and  more  I  was  affected  by  his  influence. 

BRERETON:   In  the  first  place,  I  was  recommended  by  Chief  Vollner  when  I 

started  the  police  training  school  in  September  1930  at  San  Jose 
State  College.  Vollmer  recommended  me  and  1  went  down  and  started 
the  first  two-year  college  full-time  police  training  school  in  the 
United  States  at  San  Jose.  You  will  find  a  reference  to  that  in  the 
Wickersham  Report.  They  had  short  police  schools  at  other  places 
and  Vollmer  had  taught  several  courses  in  the  Summer  Session  at  the 
University  of  California  at  Berkeley  and  I  had  taken  some  of  those 
courses.  Dr.  John  Don  Ball  had  given  courses  in  psychiatry  and  we'd 
take  trips  to  the  prisons  and  the  mental  hospitals.  About  every 
Friday  Chief  Vollmer  would  also  conduct  a  little  school  for  all  the 
policemen  and  of  course  there  were  only  35  or  Uo,  so  you  had  to  get 
out  of  bed  if  you  were  on  the  12  to  8  shift  to  attend  school  that 
day.  Everybody  was  there.  At  that  time  Walter  Gordon  —  have  you 
talked  with  him?  —  was  on  the  department  and  he  was  one  of  the 
first  patrolmen  to  teach  me  the  rudiments  of  patroling  "a  beat." 

JRH:  Bancroft  is  doing  an  Earl  Warren  history  and  they  are  interviewing 
him  in  relation  to  that,  so  I'm  not  going  to  do  one. 

BRERETON:  Walter  Gordon  was  at  that  time  a  policeman  in  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department  as  well  as  attending  law  school  at  Cal  and  he  was  the 
one  that  I  trained  with.  The  way  they  started  training  in  the 
Berkeley  police  when  I  started  they'd  send  you  out  on  the  street 
in  an  automobile  and  with  an  older  experienced  policeman.  You'd 
go  around  with  him  for  several  nights  and  then  with  somebody  else 
and  Gordon  was  one  of  the  patrolmen  that  I  was  assigned  to.  He 
taught  me  how  to  be  careful  in  going  down  dark  alleys,  turning 
door  knobs,  etc.  We  had  to  patrol  "a  beat."  For  example,  my 
first  "beat"  was  from  the  Albany  boundary  to  the  northern  boundary 
of  Oakland  and  from  Sacramento  Street  to  a  certain  area  called 
the  west  waterfront.  And  on  some  nights  on  the  12  to  8  shift  we 
had  only  two  or  maybe  three  policemen  to  patrol  the  entire  city 
of  Berkeley. 

JRH:  That's  a  big  territory. 

BRERETON:  Well,  we  didn't  have  some  of  the  problems  that  you  have  in  Berkeley 
(1965-71)  nowadays.   In  fact,  a  later  beat  of  mine  was  from  Shattuck 
Avenue  to  the  Hills  (last  street)  and  from  Bancroft  Way  to  Derby 
Street.  So  I  had  the  University  "beat"  in  the  days  when  I  could  as 
a  lone  patrolman  at  Bancroft  Way  and  Telegraph  Avenue  handle  the 
problems.  We'd  have  the  Rally  Committee  and  the  Senior  Peace  Com 
mittee  help  if  the  kids  came  down  and  started  trouble.   I  would 
have  no  difficulty  and  we  never  had  to  call  any  extra  police 
because  members  of  the  Big  C  Society,  the  Peace  Committee  and  the 
Rally  Committee  and  other  students  helped.  They  would  say,  "George, 
do  you  need  some  help  to  stop  those  kids  from  cutting  the  fire  hose 
lines  or  overturning  a  car,"  and  if  I  said  yes  they  took  care  of  the 

BREFETON:  problem.  Incidentally,  part  of  our  Jobs  in  those  days  (1922-29) 
vas  to  make  a  tour  of  the  fraternity  houses  looking  for  "souve 
nirs."  We  knew  most  of  the  fellows  and  we  would  collect  all  the 
mementos  they  had  been  "stealing"  (i.e.,  red  lanterns,  street 
ropes ,  etc . )  the  past  year  and  get  them  back  without  any  problems . 

Volimer  was  a  very  striking  man,  tall  and  slender.  As  I  remember 
his  hair  was  slightly  gray.  He  was  a  great  backer  of  his  men.  If 
you  were  in  the  right  no  ore  could  get  your  Job  or  get  you  in  trou 
ble.  If  you  arrested  a  State  Senator  speeding  down  Telegraph  Avenue 
and  you  were  in  the  right,  he  would  support  you.  On  many  different 
occasions,  he  supported  our  actions.  If  you  were  wrong,  which  I  was 
on  one  occasion,  he  had  a  great  deal  of  understanding  and  sympathy 
and  forgave  my  indiscretion.  He  was  Just  a  very,  very  wonderful 
person.  He  had  a  lot  of  magnetism  which  would  draw  you  to  him. 

One  of  his  great  expressions  when  he  would  speak  to  us  in  those 
Friday  afternoon  hour  and  one  half  sessions,  (of  course,  it  was 
a  very  small  school  compared  to  what  we  have  today  and  what  has 
been  done)  was,  in  speaking  to  the  public,  "kill  them  with  kind 
ness."  And  he  used  to  say,  "When  you're  talking  with  a  person 
on  the  phone  always  be  courteous."  Anyway,  he  would  say,  "In 
dealing  with  the  public,  this  may  be  the  first  and  last  time  that 
that  person  ever  has  contact  with  the  police;  either  with  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  or  with  a  policeman,  and  it  may  be  a 
minor  or  a  major  thing;  it  may  be  a  complaint  about  a  crowing 
rooster,  which  they  had  in  Berkeley  until  recently,  it  may  be  a 
barking  dog,  or  it  may  be  children  throwing  rocks  against  an 
elderly  woman's  door.  Whatever  it  is,  it's  veryimportant  to 
that  particular  complainant  to  take  that  report  and  answer  them 
personally  and  give  them  the  courtesy,  understanding,  respect  and 
service  they  are  entitled  to.   If  you  do  that  the  complaining 
person  will  support  the  police  department,  not  only  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department,  but  have  a  good  opinion  of  police  in  general 
because  that  may  be  the  only  time  the  complainant  ever  comes  in 
contact  with  the  police." 

Well,  I  think  as  far  as  impressing  others,  he  impressed  people 
all  over  the  world.  He  did  have  some  of  the  "old-time"  policemen 
who  opposed  his  progressive  ideas  and  who  did  not  believe  that  a 
policeman  could  learn  anything  out  of  a  book,  but  the  amusing 
thing  is  that  some  of  the  ones  who  originally  said  the  only  way 
you  could  learn  policing  was  "to  put  them  out  on  a  beat''  later 
supported  the  training  school.  Of  course,  we  in  Berkeley  were 
put  on  the  beat  and  that's  the  way  we  were  learning  in  1922. 
But  Volimer  was  developing  this  ideas  that  he  wanted  to  put 
training  schools  in  police  departments  and  put  courses  in  the 
universities  and  establish  police  training  schools  throughout 
the  country.  And,  as  time  went  on,  of  course,  that  requirement 

BRERETON:  is  now  being  initiated  for  some  lav  enforcement  agencies.  Some  of 
the  people  that  were  attacking  Vollmer  followed  hi*  methods  in 
later  days.  For  example,  in  the  city  of  San  Francisco  some  of  the 
early  chiefs  of  police  or  chiefs  of  detectives  there  "looked  dovn 
their  noses"  at  him.  But  that  didn't  bother  him.  He  rose  above 
their  ridicule.  There  vere  many  old-time  policemen  who  had  come 
up  the  hard  way  and  did  not  agree  with  his  ideas.  He  had  come  up 
the  hard  way  too,  but  he  was  thinking  far  in  advance  of  his  time. 
They  were  ridiculing  him,  but  he  overcame  that  and  was  called  into 
their  cities  (Kansas  City  and  many  others  around  the  country)  to 
reorganize  their  departments.  In  1923-2U  he  went  down  to  Los 
Angeles  and  reorganized  that  police  department  and,  later,  many 
others  around  the  world. 

He  had  a  tremendous  drive.  Incidentally,  whatever  shift  you  were 
on,  you  had  about  twenty  minutes  for  a  meal  on  the  eight  hour  shift 
and  you  had  no  radios.  We  had  what  they  called  the  Gamewell  signal 
system,  a  red  light  system  with  red  lights  hanging  at  the  inter 
section  of  major  streets  throughout  the  city.  You  had  your  own 
number  of  flashes,  you  would  watch  for  that  number  and  then  telephone 
the  police  station  from  a  police  "call  box"  (telephone).  You  would 
patrol  your  beat  and  in  all  the  areas  where  they  had  stores  you  got 
out  of  your  car  and  you  tried  the  front  door  and  then  went  around 
to  the  back  door  to  ascertain  if  they  were  locked.  You  did  that 
at  least  two  times  a  night.  If  a  store  was  broken  into  the  next 
day  your  superior  wanted  to  know  if  you  tried  that  door  or  had  seen 
a  window  broken.  So  the  1*  to  12  and  12  to  8  shifts  checked  against 
one  another  and  the  day  shift  (8  to  U)  checked  on  Sundays  and  holidays, 

Vollmer  had  a  lot  of  influence  on  the  men.  Everybody  in  the  depart 
ment,  in  those  years  I  was  there,  loved  him.  He  worked  more  than 
his  share.  As  I  said,  I  didn't  mingle  with  him  socially.  I  don't 
remember  meeting  his  first  wife  and  I  didn't  meet  his  second  wife 
until  after  he  retired  from  Berkeley  and  had  gone  to  Chicago 
University  and  came  back  and  was  teaching  in  Berkeley. 

In  what  way  was  Vollmer  influential  in  the  community  of  Berkeley? 
I  think  Vollmer  was  Berkeley.  He  could  do  no  wrong.  Nobody  would 
have  dared  to  cross  him  and  as  far  as  Alameda  County  is  concerned 
he  was  well-liked  and  he  was  disliked  only  by  jealous  people.  But 
he  was  respected  throughout  the  world;  in  Japan,  in  England,  in 
Germany,  etc.  As  time  went  on  police  officials  and  others  would 
meet  him  and  would  listen  to  his  theories ,  lectures ,  or  read  his 
writings.  He  became  internationally  famous.  You  can  understand 
that  when  both  the  University  of  California  and  the  University  of 
Chicago  would  take  a  man  who  had  no  degree  at  all  and  give  him  a 
full  professorship  without  any  problem  at  all.  That  doesn't  happen 
to  but  a  few  people.  Although  when  I  returned  from  U  1/2  years  of 
naval  service  in  19*»5,  I  was  offered  a  full  professorship  at  the 

BRERETON:  University  of  Southern  California.  I  turned  it  down  because  I  vas 

Chief  of  Identification  and  Investigation  at  that  time  and  vas  better 
paid  than  I  would  have  been  in  Los  Angeles.  I  had  a  Master  of  Arts 
degree  from  the  University  of  California,  but  Vollaer  without  any 
degrees  could  step  into  any  university  and  hold  up  his  own  —  con 
versing  with  anyone  about  many  subjects  and  preparing  scholarly 
papers.  His  language  was  good,  his  knowledge  was  tremendous.  Of 
course,  his  main  interest  was  in  doing  a  good  police  job  and  in 
training  good  policemen.  Training  young  men  to  be  good  policemen 
and  organizing  police  departments  so  that  they  were  fine,  honest, 
efficient,  modern  police  departments  was  his  lifelong  work. 

Long  before  I  was  chief  of  the  State  Division  of  Criminal  Identifi 
cation  and  Investigation,  he  had  a  great  deal  to  do  with  its  reor 
ganization  and  modernization  in  1917.  Incidentally,  it  was  probably 
the  first  in  the  country  being  first  established  at  San  Quentin  in 
1909.   It  was  first  set  up  about  1900  at  San  Quentin  prison  and 
then  it  was  allowed  to  lapse  for  a  year  or  two  and  then,  in  1917, 
it  was  reorganized  under  the  influence  of  August  Vollmer,  who  was 
one  of  the  three  board  members  and  one  of  the  leaders  to  have  this 
state  bureau  established  by  the  State  Legislature.  The  FBI  wasn't 
organized  until  about  192U  or  1925.  Vollmer  had  the  state  bureau 
going  and  the  California  state  bureau  handled  for  the  eleven  western 
states  many  identification  problems  and  received  fingerprints,  photos 
and  records  from  Kansas  City,  Seattle  and  many  other  cities  and  all 
of  the  western  penitentiaries. 

He  also  had  a  lot  to  do  with  the  development  and  organization  of  the 
International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police  and,  of  course,  when 
he  was  at  the  University  of  Chicago  he  gave  more  impetus  to  training 
as  he  did  at  the  University  of  California  when  he  was  there.  He  was 
followed  to  UC  by  O.W.  Wilson  who  was  on  the  Berkeley  police  depart 
ment  a  year  or  two  before  me  and  he  was  one  of  the  so  called  "college 
cops . " 

I've  told  you  some  of  the  things  he  was  Involved  in  with  the  state, 
such  as  the  State  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investiga 
tion.  You  might  as  well  call  it  "his  baby."  He  reorganized  it 
and  pushed  it. 

JRH:  Did  he  become  the  chairman  of  a  board? 

BRERETON:  Yes,  there  was  a  Board  of  Managers.  The  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identifi 
cation  and  Investigation  was  originally  governed  by  a  Chief  of  Police, 
a  Sheriff,  and  a  District  Attorney,  appointed  by  the  Governor.  And 
he  was  the  chief  of  police.  I've  forgotten  who  the  DA  and  the  sheriff 
were.  Later  Earl  Warren  was  District  Attorney  —  and  was  on  the  Board 
of  Managers.   I've  forgotten  who  else,  maybe  the  Chief  of  Police  of 

BRERETON:  San  Francisco  and  the  Sheriff  of  Los  Angeles  were  the  other  board 
members,  (but  at  one  time  Warren,  Sheriff  Biscailuz  of  Los  Angeles 
and  Chief  Bill  Quinn  of  San  Francisco  were  members ) .  When  Warren 
became  Attorney  General  he  wanted  to  remain  on  the  board,  and  he 
had  the  law  changed  so  that  he  became  an  ex-official  member  of  the 
Board  of  Managers.  They  had  no  Department  of  Justice  at  that  time. 
It  wasn't  until  Warren  became  Governor  and  Bob  Kinney  was  the  Attor 
ney  General,  that  they  got  together  and  established  the  Department 
of  Justice  by  combining  the  Attorney  General's  office  and  the  State 
Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation.  And,  if  I 
remember  correctly,  he  brought  in  the  Bureau  of  Narcotics  Enforcement 
at  about  the  same  time  and  the  Bureau  of  Criminal  Statistics.  Later 
in  fact,  I  had  those  three  Bureaus  under  my  direction  when  I  was 
Deputy  Director  of  the  Department  of  Justice. 

JRH:  Do  you  know  if  Vollmer  worked  with  Earl  Warren  on  any  other  things? 
In  the  county  or  in  the  State? 

BRERETON:   I  knew  Earl  Warren  only  as  District  Attorney  of  Alameda  County.   In 
fact,  the  first  time  I  met  him  was  when  he  must  have  believed  that 
the  Berkeley  Police  had  more  integrity  than  some  of  the  others  be 
cause  he  arranged,  through  Vollmer,  to  have  us,  in  teams,  raid 
Emeryville  which  was  running  wide  open,  and  had  been  for  many  years. 
It  was  "wide  open."  It  was  full  of  prostitutes' houses  of  prostitu 
tion,  liquor  joints  and  Chinese  gambling.  We  went  down  one  night 
and  I  was  on  a  team  that  crashed  into  one  place  with  a  sledge  hammer. 
This  was  at  Uoth  and  San  Pablo  at  a  place  called  the  Key  Route  Inn. 
Right  in  back  of  the  Key  Route  Inn  there  was  a  Chinese  illegal 
gambling  "Joint."  We  "hit"  six  or  seven  other  gambling  "joints'"  at 
the  same  time.  Oscar  Jansen,  who  was  Warren's  boy  Friday,  had  been 
a  former  federal  investigator  led  the  raids  and  later  worked  with 
us  in  Berkeley  for  a  time.  He  and  his  wife  were  both  undercover 
agents  and  for  awhile  and  later  Oscar  worked  as  Warren's  Chief 
Special  Agent,  and  still  later,  when  Warren  vas  Governor  Oscar  was 
appointed  a  Lieutenant  Colonel  in  the  California  National  Guard  and 
retired  as  a  Brigadier  General. 

JRH:   I  also  heard  that  during  Vollmer 's  time,  it  should  have  been  when 
you  were  on  the  force,  that  there  was  some  effort  made  against,  or 
there  was  still  some  Klu  Klux  Klan  in  there  and  Vollmer  made  some 
effort  against  them.  Do  you  remember  this  at  all? 

BRERETON:  Well,  I  would  say  this,  Vollmer  would  have  had  nothing  to  do  with 
supporting  the  Klu  Klux  Klan.  Do  you  mean  Klu  Klux  Klan  in  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department? 

JRH:  Not  in  the  department,  in  Alameda  county.   I  meant,  had  he  been 
active  in  trying  to  control  their  activities  in  the  county? 


BRERETON:  In  the  first  place,  I  should  have  known  because  I'm  a  Catholic. 
In  fact,  there  were  only  two  Catholics  in  the  Department.   I 
was  the  second  Catholic  to  be  brought  in,  while  Officer  Patrick 
O'Keefe  was  the  first.  But  that  had  nothing  to  do  with  Vollmer. 
It  didn't  make  any  difference  to  Vollmer  whether  you  were  a 
Catholic,  Protestant,  Jew,  black  man  or  a  white  man.  What  he 
wanted  was  men  who  were  honest ,  sincere  and  who  had  integrity  and 
a  good  mental  capacity.  As  I  said,  they  gave  Binet,  Army  Alpha 
and  other  tests  and  wanted  to  get  some  men  of  above  average  intel 
ligence.  Returning  to  the  KKK,  I  had  heard  some  rumors  there  was 
some  minor  activities,  but  if  there  was  anyone  working  on  it  it 
might  have  been  some  of  the  detectives,  i.e.,  Inspectors  Waterbury, 
Wilson  and  Jack  Greening,  (who  later  became  Chief  of  Police  there) 
and  another  detective  whose  name  I've  forgotten.  And  he  might 
have  been  working  with  Warren  on  that. 

One  of  my  first  duties  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  which  I 
objected  to  strenuously  was  an  "undercover  assignment."  Clarence 
Taylor ,  a  graduate  in  engineering  and  I  were  called  into  Vollmer ' • 
office  one  day  and  he  said,  "You're  going  to  be  temporarily  as 
signed  to  the  DA's  office  of  Contra  Costa  County  to  get  the  evi 
dence  on  all  the  gambling  Joints,  liquor  Joints,  and  houses  of 
prostitution  in  Contra  Costa  County."  Well,  neither  of  us  liked 
that  at  all.  I  had  a  personal  resentment  and  antipathy  towards 
that  type  of  operation  and,  secondly,  I  didn't  believe  in  the 
Volstead  Act  or  the  Wright  Act.   I  had  come  from  a  family  that 
had  grown  up  with  liquor  in  the  house.   I  had  had  beer  and  wine 
and  when  I  was  a  little  boy,  when  we  would  come  in  after  a  long 
horse  back  trip  (I  was  from  Mendocino  County,  I  was  born  and 
raised  there)  wet  and  cold  we  would  make  a  tiny  hot toddy  or  some 
thing.  So  I  didn't  like  the  idea  of  going  in  under  false  colors. 
But  he  said,  "Do  you  like  your  police  Job?"  I  said,  "Yes,  I  do." 
He  said,  "Either  you  take  this  assignment  or  you  won't  be  working 
with  us." 

On  another  occasion,  he  called  me  and,  I  had  a  very  poor  handwriting. 
I  had  fairly  good  handwriting  once  but  I  ruined  it  going  to  college 
because  I  would  try  to  get  everything  down  on  paper  which  was  said 
in  a  lecture.  So  I  would  write  my  police  report.  When  you  got 
through  your  police  "shift"  you  always  had  to  write  your  reports, 
if  you  had  a  burglary  or  whatever  you  had,  when  you  came  in  off 
your  beat.  Relative  to  my  reports  Vollmer  said,  "One  thing  you  are 
going  to  have  to  do,  either  you're  going  to  have  to  learn  to  use  a 
typewriter  or  you're  going  to  learn  to  write  clearly  so  we  can 
read  your  report  or  you're  not  going  to  be  here  very  long."  I  said, 
"Yes,  sir"  and  I  learned  to  use  about  four  t'jngers  typing. 

JRH:  We  heard  that  Vollmer  wasn't  a  terribly  strong  believer  in  Prohibi 
tion  himself. 

BRERETOH:  Well,  I'm  sure  that  he  wasn't. 

JRH:  But  he  did  enforce  the  lav? 
story  you  vere  telling? 

You  did  follow  it  in  relation  to  the 

BRERETON:   I  would  say  probably  he  had  the  sane  kind  of  feeling  that  I  had  to 
ward  it.  I  know  nothing  about  his  private  life,  whether  he  took  a 
drink  during  Prohibition  or  not.  I  would  certainly  have  no  reason 
to  say  that.  But  we  enforced  the  laws  there  and  actually  I  nearly 
lost  ray  Job  at  one  time  because  of  being  on  a  liquor  raid  and  three 
of  us  each  took  a  pint  bottle  of  wine.  The  stuff  wasn't  any  good 
anyhow.  I  went  hone  and  took  a  sip  out  of  it,  but  it  wasn't  good. 
Vollmer  wasn't  Chief  at  the  time.  He  was  on  leave  down  in  Los 
Angeles  (another  officer  was  Acting  Chief),  but  I  think  that  probably 
it  was  due  to  Vollmer 's  great  understanding  of  human  weaknesses  and 
the  stupidity  of  young  kids  that  caused  him  to  keep  us  from  being 
discharged.  But  anyway,  he  had  a  deep  understanding  and  sympathy 
for  people.  He  understood  the  psychology  of  people  and  he  had  great 
sympathy  for  any  problems  of  the  men  or  their  families. 

JRH:  One  thing  else  about  the  community  you  mentioned  earlier.  You 
mentioned  that  when  you  were  on  the  campus  beat  generally  the 
men  would  know  most  of  the  people  in  the  fraternities. 

BRERETON:   I  belonged  to  a  fraternity  (where  I  lived)  and  I  had  friends  in  all 
of  the  houses.   I  could  walk  into  any  fraternity  on  the  campus  and 
there  would  always  be  somebody  there  who  would  say,  "Hello  George, 
how  are  you?"  Or  if  something  would  disappear,  they  would  help  find 
it.  For  example,  on  one  occasion,  a  bunch  of  kids  from  one  of  the 
fraternities  that's  still  there  (the  freshmen)  went  over  to  North 
Beach  and,  of  all  things,  stole  four  or  five  musical  instruments 
from  the  band  who,  I  suppose,  were  out  having  a  drink  or  a  rest. 
And  they  stole  a  big  bass  horn.   I  don't  know  how  they  got  it  home. 
There  were  headlines  in  the  San  Francisco  paper  and  police  were 
wild  and  so  somebody  called  me  and  asked  me  if  we  had  a  report  of 
any  musical  instruments  stolen  and  what  would  happen  to  those  that 
took  them.   I  told  them  it  was  grand  theft.  They  said  that  the 
kids  had  had  too  much  to  drink  and  then  asked  if  they  could  get  the 
instruments  back  to  the  musicians,  could  they  drop  the  charges.  I 
think  I  checked  with  Vollmer  or  the  captain  or  sargeant  and  said 
yes.  Some  superior  knew  it  was  a  prank  and  he  said,  "Bring  them 
down  and  we  will  straighten  it  out,"  which  we  did  and  there  was 
nothing  further  done  about  it.  Kids  would  steal  souvenirs  which  I 
suppose  they  still  do  today;  sometimes  street  signs  and  stop  signs, 
plants  and  red  lanterns.  Once  or  twice  a  year  a  few  of  us  would  go 
through  the  fraternity  houses  on  our  beats.  Probably  there  would 
Just  be  two  because  there  would  be  some  fraternities  north  of  campus 
and  some  south.  We  would  load  our  cars  and  bring  the  articles  to 
the  police  station  and  the  boys  would  moan  and  groan  but  they,  of 
course,  could  do  nothing  to  prevent  our  actions. 


JRH:  Somebody  said  that  Vollner  used  to  know  the  people  in  the  frater 
nities  himself. 

BRERETON:  Yes,  he  knew  many  of  them.  Of  course  he  knew  some  of  the  older 
men  or  some  of  those  who  would  get  in  trouble.  He  knew  the 
Presidents  of  the  University,  i.e.  Benjamin  I.  Wheeler,  David 
Prescott  Barrows,  Dr.  Campbell  and  Bob  Sproul,  the  Comptroller 
who  became  President  —  he  knew  all  of  them.  Vollmer  at  that 
time  lived  on  Grove  Street  in  a  flat  or  an  apartment  on  North 
Grove . 

I've  talked  about  principles  and  major  ideas.  Training  and  educa 
tion  were  his  great  major  interests  and  integrity  of  his  men  and 
sympathy  for  them.  He  would  attempt  to  prevent  crime.  He  would 
have  the  men  on  the  beat  to  encourage  the  shopkeepers  or  the 
storekeepers  to  place  their  safes  out  in  front  of  the  windows  of 
their  stores  and  not  keep  them  hidden,  also  to  put  electric 
lights  in  the  alleys  and  not  leave  them  dark  for  the  burglars  to 
work  in  more  safety.  He  would  ask  the  store  owners  to  cover  the 
doors  and  the  windows  with  metal  bars.  He  was  thinking  all  the 
time  of  ways  for  his  men  to  pass  out  this  information  to  prevent 
crime.  We  had  to  be  trained  in  various  subjects  and  take  firearm 
instruction.  We  had  to  study  the  Penal  Code  and  take  examinations 
on  it  and  on  city  ordinances  and  on  a  number  of  other  books.  We 
were  always  encouraged  to  get  books  from  the  University,  and  also 
to  get  books  from  his  library.  And  he  had  some  of  the  best  books 
of  the  early  criminologists .  Hans  Gross's  Criminal  Investigation, 

How  did  he  relate?  He  related  very  well,  very  courteously,  with 
empathy  and  sympathy  among  all  people.  On  the  other  hand,  he 
would  support  anyone  for  his  principles  if  he  believed  them  to 
be  correct.  He  had  kindness  and  a  great  amount  of  mental  courage. 
One  thing  he  had,  you  know,  over  the  years  was  a  bad  heart.  He 
used  to  carry  a  little  pillbox  and  he  used  to  take  nitroglycerine 
pills.  But  that  never  kept  him  from  doing  anything.  He  never 
talked  to  me  about  his  personal  life  or  anything  of  that  nature. 
I  don't  think  he  considered  that  my  business,  which  it  wasn't. 
We  were  good  friends  and  he  was  constantly  trying  to  keep  track 
of  his  boys,  and  tried  to  help  everyone  of  them. 

JRH:   I  also  interviewed  Gene  Woods.  He  told  me  tht  he  showed  Hoover 
around  the  State  and  Hoover  learned  some  of  Vollmer's  ideas  at 
that  time. 

BRERETOH:  I  don't  remember  that.  Gene  Woods? 
JRH:  Yes. 


BRERETON:  Gene  Wood's  father,  Al  Woods,  was  one  of  the  detectives  who 
was  there  when  I  came  on  the  police  department.  Gene  came, 
I'm  sure,  after  I  did.  And  he  was  shot  at  Durant  and  Shattuck 
one  morning  about  six  o'clock.  But  I  don't  remember  Gene's 
trip  with  J.  Edgar  Hoover,  but  there  were  a  lot  of  things  that 
I  wouldn't  remember  or  that  I  might  not  even  know  about,  as 
far  as  that  goes. 

When  I  first  met  J.  Edgar  Hoover  while  I  was  Undersheriff  in 
San  Diego  in  1935  or  1936,  I  was  teaching  at  San  Jose  State 
College,  where  I  started  the  police  school  in  1930  —  I  started 
there  in  September  1930,  that  was  on  Vollmer 's  recommendation. 
I  was  also  employed  in  Santa  Cruz  as  Chief  Criminal  Deputy 
Sheriff  from  1932-1931*.  When  Sheriff  Dresser  of  Santa  Cruz 
County  was  defeated,  the  new  Sheriff  in  San  Diego,  Ernest  Dort, 
came  north  to  see  Vollmer  to  get  his  advice  because  he  didn't 
know  a  thing  about  policing.  In  fact,  he  ran  on  the  basis  that 
he  was  honest  and  that  he'd  have  a  new  regime.  The  Sheriff 
Ed  Cooper,  who  had  been  in  office  twenty  years  had  had  some 
tough  luck  —  a  lot  of  bad  murders.  So  Dort  who  had  been  Post 
master  in  San  Diego  for  some  twelve  years  said,  he  was  going  to 
get  someone  who  knew  policing  to  come  in  and  reorganize  the  San 
Diego  Sheriff's  Department.  So  he  came  up  to  see  Vollmer  and  I 
was  lucky  enough  to  be  recommended  by  Chief  Vollmer  to  become 
Undersheriff  of  San  Diego  County  (January  1935  -  December  1938, 
when  I  resigned  to  accept  the  position  of  State  Supervisor  of 
Peace  Officer's  Training  with  the  State  Department  of  Education 
at  Sacramento). 

JRH:  You  mentioned  Mr.  Mull  as  somebody  else  who  worked  with  him.  He 
sounds  familiar.  We  have  Mull,  but  we  don't  have  his  address. 

BRERETON:  Oh,  Grover  Mull  was  in  the  police  department  there.  He's  79  now 
but  very  bright,  he  now  lives  at  Diamond  Springs,  California, 
P.O.  Box  6l6,  95619. 

JRH:  Is  there  anyone  else  that  you  would  think  would  know  about  him? 
John  Holstrom  has  given  us  the  names  of  a  lot  of  people. 

BRERETON:  Yes.  Of  course,  John  Holstrom  worked  for  me  at  the  University 
of  California  stadium  and  then  I  got  him  interested  in  police 
work  and  I  encouraged  him  to  take  the  examination  for  the 
department.  Mull  told  me  that  Bob  Robinson  was  living  over  in 
Mill  Valley  and  I  think  he  knows  where  Ralph  Proctor  is.  Bob 
Robinson  has  an  unusually  long  name:  Shayer  O.L.  "Bob  Robinson." 
I  think  that  when  you  talk  with  Mull,  if  you  get  a  chance,  he 
will  tell  you  where  Robinson  lives  and  also  Ralph  Proctor.   I 
think  he  was  in  the  military  service  too,  but  I  don't  know  what 
he  did. 

JRH:  We  have  Maeshner's  name. 


BRERETON:   Eddie  Maeshner  —  isn't  he  dead? 

JRH:   I  don't  know. 
BRERETON:  Hare  you  got  Bill  Peck's  name? 

JRH:   He  (Holstrom)  went  through  the  files,  but  he  listed  them  by  members 
and  ex-members.  So  the  people  that  quit  we  may  not  have.  He  listed 
them  by  retirees  (people  who  stayed  through  and  then  retired)  and 
then  a  separate  section  on  the  people  who  left  before  retiring. 

BRERETON:  These  fellows  all  left. 

JRH:  Holstrom  has  Proctor's  address.  He  thinks  it's  1800  North  Street 
in  Berkeley. 

BRERFTON:  Proctor.  Well,  may  be.  Bill  Peck,  is  he  there? 
JRH:  He  has  nothing  about  Bill  Peck. 

BRERETON:  Well,  he  may  be  dead.  Mull  will  know  more  about  thi«  than  anyone 
because  he  was  there  and  he  stayed  after  I  left. 

JRH:  He  came  in  1923,  Holstrom  says. 

BRERETON:  Well,  then  he  came  after  I  did.   I  came  in  1922. 
JRH:  But  he  was  considerably  older. 

BRERETON:  Yes.   He  was  from  World  War  I.  But  he  is  79  and  I  am  70  —  last 
May  23rd. 

JRH:  Holstrom  has  quite  a  list,  but  I  don't  know  if  he  has  everybody. 

BRERETON:   (Looking  through  Holstrom 's  book)  Owens.  V.A.  Leonard.  He's 
still  alive  and  writing  books  by  the  carload.  He  was  an  inside 
clerk  when  I  knew  him. 

JRH:  Only  trouble  with  him  is  he's  so  far  away. 
BRERETON:  Kenney,  Heinrick,  —  tape  ended,  reviewing  names  off  tape. 


INDEX  ~  George  Brereton 

Alameda  County,   5 

Ball,  John,  1,  3 

Barrows,  David  Prescott,  10 

Berkeley,  City  of,  5 

City  Constable,  2 

Police  Department,  passim 
Biscailuz,  Sheriff  Gene,  7 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  6-7 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Statistics,  7 

Bureau  of  Narcotics  Enforcement,  7 

Department  of  Education,  11 

Department  of  Justice,  7 
Campbell,  Dr.  William  W. ,  11 
Contra  Costa  County 

District  Attorney's  Office,  8 

Emeryville  cases,  7 

Federal  Bureau  of  Investigation  (FBI),  6 

Gamevell  signal  system,  5 
Gordon,  Walter,  3 
Guinn,  William  "Bill",  7 
Greening,  Jack,  8 

Hoover,  J.  Edgar,  10,  11 
Hoi strom,  John,  11 
Heinrick,  E.O.,  12 

International  Association  of  Chiefs  of  Police,  6 
Jansen,  Oscar,  7 

Kansas  City,  Kansas,  5 
Key  Route  Inn,  7 
Kinney,  "Bob",  7 
Ku  KLux  KLan,  7-8 

Los  Angeles,  5 
Leonard,  V.A.,  12 

Mendocino  County,  8 
Mull,  Grover,  11 
Maeshner,  Eddie,  12 


San  Francisco  Chronicle.  1 

O'Keefe,  Patrick,  8 
Ovens,  12 

Peck,  Bill,  12 

police  procedure,  1,  2,  3,  U,  5,  8,  10 

police  training  schools 

at  Berkeley,  3,  !» 

at  San  Jose,  3,  11 
Proctor,  Ralph,  11 
Prohibition  (Volstead  Act),  8-9 

Robinson,  Shayer  0.  "Bob",  11 
Rowell,  Dr.  Hubert  N. ,  1 

San  Francisco,  5 
San  Diego,  11 
San  Quentin,  6 
Santa  Cruz ,  11 
Sproul,  Robert  G. ,  10 

Taylor,  Clarence,  8 

United  States  Forest  Service,  1 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley,  1-2,  3,  5,  6 

fraternities,  9 

Rally  Committee,  3 

Senior  Peace  Committee,  3 
University  of  Chicago,  5,  6 
University  of  Southern  California,  6 

Vollmer ,  August ,  passim 
description  of,  U 
education,  2 
health,  U 
Spanish-American  War,  2 

Warren,  Earl,  6,  7 
Waterbury,  Inspector  Prank,  8 
Wheeler,  Benjamin  Ide,  10 
Wicker sham  Report ,  3 
Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,  6,  8 
Wright  Act,  8 
Woods,  Al,  11 
Woods,  Gene,  10 

Thomas  Hunter 

Willard  Schmidt 

Alfred  E.  Parker 

Jane  Howard  Robinson  and  Gene  Carte.   September  1972, 


Thomas  Hunter  was  interviewed  as  part  of  a  series  on  August  Vollraer, 
the  professional  and  the  man.  Mr.  Hunter  talks  from  the  perspective  of  a 
law  enforcement  professional  who  rose  from  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  to 
become  Supervisor,  Special  Services  Division,  in  the  Bureau  of  Criminal 
Identification  and  Investigation. 


Time  and  Setting 
of  Interview: 


Account  of 
Mr.  Hunter  and 
the  Progress  of 
the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

One  interview  was  conducted  on  August  9,  1971,  in 
Mr.  Hunter's  office  at  the  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identifi 
cation  and  Investigation.  The  interview  began  at  about 
2  p.m.  and  concluded  at  3  p.m. 

The  interview  was  edited  by  Jane  Howard  for  typing  and 
spelling  errors.  She  also  replayed  the  tape,  filling  in 
the  blanks  in  the  interview  left  by  the  typist  where  the 
tape  was  unclear.  Mr.  Hunter  edited  the  manuscript, 
making  a  few  minor  corrections  on  names  and  dates. 

Thomas  Hunter  began  his  career  in  law  enforcement  in 
1935,  upon  graduation  from  the  University  of  California 
with  a  group  major  in  police  administration.  After  brief 
employment  at  the  Berkeley  Police  Department,  Mr.  Hunter 
received  an  appointment  in  1936  as  special  agent  for  the 
State  Board  of  Examiners.  He  remained  in  that  position 
until  19^2,  when  he  went  to  work  for  the  Bureau  of  Criminal 
Identification  and  Investigation.  Mr.  Hunter  retired  in 
1971  from  his  position  as  Supervisor  of  the  Special  Services 
Division  of  the  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and 

The  interview  begins  with  a  discussion  of  Mr.  Hunter's 
enrollment  at  the  University  of  California  in  Vollmer's 
group  major  in  police  administration.  Mr.  Hunter  recalls 
becoming  part  of  August  Vollmer's  informal  "gang"  at 
South  Hall,  becoming  interested  in  Vollmer's  secretary, 
and  being  married  in  1931*  to  this  secretary,  Muriel  Bigelow, 
in  Vollmer's  home.  Upon  graduation  from  the  University 
of  California  in  1935,  Mr.  Hunter  took  a  Job  with  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  until  his  appointment  as  a 
special  agent  for  the  State  Board  of  Examiners"  in  1936. 


Thomas  Hunter   (cont.  ) 

lie  remembers  useful  advise  and  encouragement  received 
over  the  years  as  a  friend  and  neighbor  of  Vollmer's. 

The  interview  turns  to  a  discussion  of  Vollmer's  exten 
sive  knowledge  on  a  vide  range  of  topics.      Hunter  also 
talks  about  Vollner's  informal  group  of  "V"  men,  and 
tells  about  the  "V"  men's  group  tripe  to  Yolo  County, 
California  where  Hunter's  wife's  family  had  a  farm. 

Hunter  feels,  as  did  many  other  interview  subjects,  that 
Vollmer's  most  outstanding  trait  was  his  innovativeness. 
He  cites  Vollmer's  adoption  of  modus  operand!,  his  lobby 
ing  for  the  establishment  of  the  Bureau  of  Criminal   Iden 
tification  and  Investigation  and  his  work  on  the  establish 
ment  of  the  East  Bay  Regional  Parks. 

Hunter's  thoughts  turn  to  an  anecdote  about  an  accident 
involving  the  Berkeley  city  manager  and  Vollmer  on  the 
first  day  of  Safety  Week.     Hunter  mentions  that  Vollmer 
was  an  unpretentious  man,  easy  to  work  for,  and  that 
Vollmer  was  very  fond  of  children. 

Hunter  closes  by  saying  he  feels  people  are  finally  be 
ginning  to  see  Vollmer's  influence  on  current  police 
practices,  particularly  in  the  area  of  administration. 

Jane  Howard 

JRH:   How  did  you  get  to  know  Vollmer? 

HUNTER:   I  became  interested  in  doing  work  in  police  administration  so 
I  wrote  to  the  places  where  they  were  giving  courses.  I  wrote 
to  August  Vollmer  to  ask  what  were  the  potentials  in  going  to 
Cal  and  to  George  Brereton,  who  at  the  time  was  Director  of 
the  new  Police  Science  course  in  the  first  experiment  outside 
of  the  University  at  San  Jose  State  College.  I  thought  Vollmer 's 
looked  better. 

JRH:   What  were  you  doing  at  the  time? 

HUNTER:   I  was  living  in  Southern  California  at  the  time  and  starving 
through  the  depression  of  1929-31  or  '32  and  some  of  my  class 
mates  who  had  gone  on  to  Cal  came  home  in  the  summertime  and 
encouraged  me  to  go  to  Berkeley.  I  was  working  on  a  newspaper 
which  was  paying  very  low  wages  and  I  figured  that  I  could 
starve  in  Berkeley  as  well  as  I  could  in  Pullerton,  so  I  came 
north.  I  was  enrolled  in  August  of  1933  and  finally  graduated 
on  what  I  think  was  the  first,  at  that  particular  time,  group 
major  in  Police  Administration.  In  193**  the  University  had 
adopted  a  provision  making  it  possible  to  major  across  colleges 
and,  of  course,  this  was  long  before  the  School  of  Criminology 
existed  and  so  I  had  a  number  of  courses  in  addition  to  Pro 
fessor  Vollmer's  class,  which  I  took  in  my  Junior  year.  There 
were  a  cross  section  of  economics  and  history  and  other  matters 
which  was  considered  relevant  to  being  a  policeman  and  I  was 
graduated  in  May  of  1935- 

Shortly  after  I  arrived  in  Berkeley,  I  became  a  member  of  an 
informal  gang  that  hung  around  Room  11,  South  Hall,  which  was 
the  Chief's  office.  It  had  a  big  advantage  that  the  window 
was  level  with  the  ground  outside  and  you  could  sit  down  and 
talk  with  people  inside  the  room  without  having  to  go  in  the 
building.  As  part  of  this  relationship  with  the  gang  I  was 
rather  attracted  to  this  secretary,  Muriel  Bigelov.  However, 
I  was  economically  unable  to  afford  a  girl  friend,  so  nothing 
much  happened  on  that  score  until  the  Fall  of  1931*  when  we 
were  married.  The  Chief  enthusiastically  encouraged  this 
transaction  and  even  loaned  his  home  for  the  ceremony,  the 
event  taking  place  in  his  living  room  while  we  were  able  to 
look  out  over  the  bay  in  very  pleasant  circumstances. 

HUNTER:   After  our  marriage  I  stayed  in  school  until  graduation  and  worked 
for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  from  January  1,  1935,  until 
I  was  appointed  to  be  the  special  agent  for  the  State  Board  of 
Medical  Examiners  in  San  Francisco  in  September  of  1936.  This 
necessitated  a  move  to  San  Francisco  at  a  time  when  Muriel  was 
more  than  eight  months  pregnant  and  caused  a  lot  of  difficulties. 
However,  the  commuting  situation  in  those  days  was  such  that  I 
had  no  great  choice  but  to  reside  in  San  Francisco.  Subsequently, 
we  did  return  to  Berkeley  and  lived  on  Miller  Way  Just  one  block 
uphill  from  his  home  on  Euclid  and  accordingly  both  we  and  the 
children  frequently  had  opportunities  to  pass  the  time  of  day  with 
"Uncle  Gus"  and  I,  of  course,  received  much  helpful  advice  from 
him  on  what  type  of  employment  might  be  available  and  what  might 
be  preferrable  over  the  long  run. 

He  encouraged  me  to  obtain  employment  with  the  State  Bureau  of 
Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation  which  I  eventually  did 
in  January  of  19**2.  He  had  been  the  first  chief  of  police 
member  of  the  Board  of  Managers  which  was  composed  of  a  district 
attorney,  a  chief  of  police  and  a  sheriff.  He  had  participated 
in  1909  and  through  the  years  to  lobby  the  necessary  legislation 
to  create  the  Bureau  in  1917.  So  he  was  able  to  give  me  a  lot 
of  interesting  background  information  as  to  how  the  bureau  came 
to  be  formed. 

I  remember  one  such  story  was  his  description  as  to  how  a  rather 
elemental  organization,  technically  the  first  State  Bureau,  had 
been  formed  pursuant  to  1905  legislation  and  set  up  at  the  prison 
at  San  Quentin.  The  idea  was  exactly  the  opposite  of  a  centralized 
identification  bureau,  inasmuch  as  the  purpose  was  to  take  many 
fingerprints  of  any  incoming  prisoners  and  distribute  those  prints 
to  some  17  law  enforcement  agencies  in  the  11  western  states. 
It  has  been  interesting  to  me  to  note  that  while  some  of  the 
sheriff's  offices  and  police  departments  that  were  in  that  early 
distribution  pattern  have  had  their  ups  and  downs  as  far  as 
efficiency  and  honesty;  nevertheless,  their  identification  bureaus 
have  had  a  reputation  for  efficiency  and  high  quality  work  through 
the  years. 

The  Chief  told  me  that  the  sheriffs  and  chiefs  of  police,  who  were 
not  satisfied  with  this  small  bureau  and  were  lobbying  in  the  1909 
session  so  hard  for  some  other  centralized  bureau  with  a  wider 
scope  of  activities  such  as  we  finally  obtained  in  the  1917  statues. 
But  the  lobbyists  forgot  all  about  the  San  Quentin  institution  and 
there  was  no  budget  provided  so  the  1905  bureau  went  out  of  business 
after  about  four  years  of  existence.  This  could  have  been  the  1907 
session  since  in  those  days  the  legislature  met  in  the  odd  numbered 





August  Vollmer  haul  the  potentialities  of  a  great  man  and  he  would 
have  succeeded  whether  he  had  stayed  in  his  feed  and  fuel  business 
or  whether  he  chose  some  other  field.  We  are  fortunate  that  he 
happened  to  be  interested  in  law  enforcement  and  the  police.  Be 
cause  of  other  elements  in  his  life  he  spent  a  number  of  years  as 
a  bachelor  with  much  time  to  read  and  his  self-education  was  modestly 
evident.   I  have  heard  him  converse  with  doctors  of  medicine  concern 
ing  the  blood  circulatory  system  in  humans,  talk  to  psychiatrists 
concerning  various  mental  afflictions  and  on  no  occasion  was  he  in 
the  position  of  being  talked  down  to.  He  did  not  parade  his  know 
ledge,  but  he  had  a  vast  amount  of  information  about  a  number  of 
highly  technical  things.  I  believe  the  one  thing  that  he  did 
never  master  was  how  to  drive  an  automobile  and  sometimes  I  believe 
that  that  was  very  smart  of  him. 

How  so? 

As  some  of  the  pictures  of  the  gag  organization,  the  International 
Association  of  V-Men  indicate,  August  Vollmer,  like  all  of  the 
great  ones,  was  never  one  to  stand  on  rank  or  ceremony.  He  needed 
no  artificial  props  to  his  dignity.  He  mixed  with  his  students  and 
was  genuinely  fond  of  them  and  they  of  him.   If  he  had  done  nothing 
else  in  his  life,  he  at  least  breathed  inspiration  and  incentive 
into  the  hearts  of  many  people  who  subsequently  have  very  important 
places  in  the  leadership  groups  of  law  enforcement.  In  fact,  if  he 
had  any  fault  it  was  perhaps  putting  too  much  faith  in  the  people 
he  had  faith  in.  He  would  sometimes  recommend  people  for  something 
that  was  really  beyond  the  person's  ability. 

You  mentioned  before  who  was  in  this  association  of  yours  and  how 
you  all  got  together. 

Well,  this  was  a  very  informal  group.  The  "V"  men,  as  I  said,  was 

more  or  less  a  pap. 
with  V's"  on  them. ) 

(The  "V"  men  even  had  badges  —  7  point  stars 
A  play  on  "G"  Men  which  had  been  possibly 

overdone  about  that  time,  but  there  were  such  people  as  the  now 
Dean  Milton  Chernin  from  the  School  of  Social  Welfare  at  Cal,  A.E. 
Parker,  Burtis  C.  Bridges,  author  of  the  book  on  fingerprinting, 
Ben  Holmes  who  at  one  time  was  a  U.S.  Postal  Inspector. 

Those  are  more  pictures  of  Vollmer? 

Yes.  Arthur  Bellman,  now  as  well  as  then,  practicing  law  in  the 
East  Bay.  Persons  of  all  ages  and  backgrounds  who  were  a  part  of 
the  group  that  came  to  him  for  leadership  and  inspiration. 

JPH:  You  were  saying  you  used  to  go  out  to  your  wife's  home  up  in  Winters... 

Yes.  One  of  the  social  activities  of  "V"  Men,  apart  from  occasional 
spaghetti  and  meatballs  and  beer  bust  in  one  of  the  Telegraph  Avenue 
bistros,  was  an  annual  trek  to  Yolo  County  where  Muriel  Bigelow's 
father  had  a  ranch  abutting  Putah  Creek.  At  that  time  the  swimming 
was  good  in  the  creek  and  it  became  practically  one  of  the  "rites  of 
Spring"  for  us  to  spend,  usually  around  Easter  Week,  swimming  in 
Putah  Creek  and  using  the  background  hills  as  bullet  stops  for  our 
amateur  gunnery  sessions. 

A  small  illustration  of  the  man's  adjustment  to  himself  was  his 
ability  to  tell  a  Joke  on  himself.  He  told  us  one  time  rather 
informally,  or  at  least  nothing  particular  of  a  relevant  nature 
had  occurred,  but  he  was  telling  about  his  invitation  to  attend  a 
police  council  in  Germany  during  his  around  the  world  trip  immedi 
ately  after  he  retired  from  the  police  department.  This,  as  you 
will  recall  in  point  of  time,  was  after  the  development  of  the 
National  Socialists  and  the  S.S.  which  under  the  Nazis  became  high 
officials  in  the  police  as  well  as  everything  else.  He  told  us  that 
the  conference  was  terminated  by  a  rather  elaborate  dinner  and  every 
one  toasted  everyone  else  and  then  the  German  police  disappeared, 
leaving  "Uncle  Gus"  with  the  check  for  the  dinner.  And  so  much  for 
international  hospitality. 

During  my  time  both  on  the  campus ,  and  for  that  matter  even  today 
in  some  places ,  August  Vollmer  had  to  overcome  a  basic  distrust 
on  the  part  of  people  who  were  bound  to  the  conservative  "don't 
try  anything  new"  school  in  law  enforcement.  Even  today  a  large 
portion  of  police  administrators  are  very  reactionary  and  do  not 
look  with  any  interest  in  changes,  even  if  they  might  be  for  the 
better.  Consequently,  I  have  heard,  particularly  in  the  days  when 
he  was  still  active  in  the  university,  the  derogatory  comments 
from  unenlightened  law  enforcement  people  attributing  his  efforts 
to  mere  publicity  grabbing. 

However,  I  think  that  anyone  taking  an  objective  view  of  his  efforts 
would  see  that  he  was  the  spark  plug  that  lent  considerable  velocity 
to  a  lot  of  new  ideas  in  the  law  enforcement  field.  He  was  an  active 
enthusiast  for  modus  operand!  which  he  translated  into  U.S.  English, 
both  figuratively  and  literally,  to  make  it  possible  in  the  U.S. 
This,  of  course,  was  of  interest  to  me  because  modus  operand!  pro 
cessing  is  one  of  the  things  in  my  section  which  even  today  we  have 
some  doubts  on  the  part  of  our  administrators  as  to  whether  the 
technique  is  worthwhile.  He  took  an  active  part  in  the  formation 
of  the  Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation  and  in 
lobbying  for  it  through  the  years  until  the  first  bill  setting  up 
what  we  essentially  are  now  was  passed  in  1917.  We  operated  in 
much  the  same  way  with  added  tasks  for  well  over  half  a  century 
until  July  1  of  this  year  when  the  present  administration  abolished 
the  Bureau  and  reorganized  the  Department. 

HUNTER:   One  activity  which  may  not  be  too  well  known  to  law  enforcement 
people  after  leaving  the  University  and  the  formation  of  the 
Regional  Parks.  He  was  a  member  of  one  of  the  early  Board  of 
Directors  and  took  an  active  part  in  transforming  what  had  been 
merely  guarded  watershed  land,  which  in  my  day  at  Cal  was  no 
man's  land  so  far  as  university  students  and  girl  friends  climb 
ing  over  fences  and  looking  for  wild  strawberries,  into  a  chain 
of  public  parks  which  are  now  showing  great  value  to  the  East 
Bay  area.  There  is  a  "Vollmer  Peak"  in  the  north  East  Bay 
Regional  Park  as  a  permanent  remembrance  of  Vollmer.  In  fact, 
these  parks  should  be  considerably  larger  since  I  understand 
the  use  of  the  parks  is  very  tremendous  these  days. 

At  the  statewide  level  I  would  say  his  influence  was  very  high 
in  the  formation  of  this  bureau  and  the  encouragement  of  orga 
nized  groups  such  as  the  State  Peace  Officers  Association,  and 
the  development  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department. 

Although  in  my  day  I  soon  found  out  once  I  left  the  city  of 
Berkeley  that  there  were  two  things  one  did  not  discuss  in 
the  general  police  field:  (a)  that  you  had  never  seen  the 
inside  of  a  four-year  college  or  (b)  that  you  had  ever  been  a 
Berkeley  policeman.  There  seemed  to  be  a  certain  prejudice 
against  either  condition.  However,  I  believe  that  this  has 
long  since  changed  and  the  mere  fact  that  it  has,  during  the 
last  thirty  years,  come  about  is  one  of  the  long  range  benefits 
of  August  Vollmer1 s  work  in  the  field. 

JRH:   Do  you  remember  any  other  stories  about  your  group  or  anecdotes 
about  Vollmer? 

HUNTER:   No,  I  don't.  There  must  have  been  some,  but  one  that  I  did  not 
know  of  any  great  detail  and  you  may  have  picked  it  up  from 
some  of  the  other  people  or  if  you  haven't,  I'd  certainly  ask 
them  about  it.  The  City  Manager  of  Berkeley  at  one  time,  the 
first  one  if  I'm  not  mistaken,  was  a  man  named  John  Edy.  And 
he  was  a  very  much  dominating  type.   It  was  the  beginning  of 
the  City  Manager  concept,  all  power  went  to  the  City  Manager 
and  the  City  Council  sat  and  backed  him  up  and  he  was ,  from 
what  I  gather  from  when  I  was  there,  a  rather  irascible  type. 
Uncle  Gus  did  tell  a  tale  about  how  on  the  first  day  of  their 
Traffic  Safety  Week  that  he  was  riding  in  an  automobile  west 
bound  on  University  Avenue  somewhere  between  Shattuck  and  Grove 
and  I  guess  Edy  must  have  been  driving,  because  certainly  the 
Chief  wouldn't  be  and  so  they  had  a  collision  and,  this  being 
safety  week,  it  was  somewhat  of  a  source  of  embarrassment  for 
the  City  Manager  and  the  Chief  of  Police  to  be  standing  out 
looking  at  these  wrinkled  fenders  right  in  the  middle  of  downtown, 



He  was  an  easy  man  to  get  along  with  and  a  very  considerate  man. 
I,  of  course,  had  some  menial  Jobs  in  my  day  and  I  hashed  while 
I  was  going  through  school  and  I  have  concluded  that  itfc  only  the 
phonies  that  have  to  make  with  a  lot  of  front  and  stuffiness  and 
derogation  of  the  peons  and  when  you  find  someone  who  does  that 
you  put  him  down  as  a  phony  and  when  you  find  someone  who  has  real 
status  and  he  doesn't  do  that  you  know  that  he  is  genuinely  a  good 
man.  That  I  think  was  his  way. 

People  say  he  was  good  with  kids, 
to  see  some  of  him. 

You  mentioned  that  your  kids  used 

Yes.  He  would  pay  as  much  attention  to  the  youngsters  and  talk  to 
them  as  individuals  as  grownups.  In  looking  over  material  for  you 
I  found  one  letter  that  I  didn't  have  time  to  disengage.  I  wrote 
it  on  a  piece  of  note  paper.   Sometime  in  1953  I  believe,  he  had 
written  me  acknowledging  some  book  with  statistics  or  something 
that  I  had  sent  him.  And  after  thanking  me  for  that  he  said, 
"Well,  it's  back  to  the  hospital  now  for  some  more  surgery.  For 
the  cuttee  it  doesn't  feel  so  good  but  I  guess  it's  necessary  to 
have  it  done,"  or  something,  more  or  less  philosophically,  so  he 
pretty  well  accepted  the  world. 

I  think  that  probably  about  now  and  from  here  on  people  will  begin 
to  see  his  hand  in  the  back  of  many  police  elements.  He  was  re 
tained  to  reorganize  the  Los  Angeles  police  department  in  about 
1931.  It  could  have  been  earlier,  but  there  are  still  some  things 
down  there  in  their  reports  that  bear  the  mark  of  changes  that  were 
adopted  by  August  Vollmer  that  long  ago  so  he  had  some  pretty 
good  basic  ideas. 

INDEX  —  Thomas  Hunter 

Bellman,  Arthur,  3 
Brereton,  George,  1 
Berkeley,  City  of 

Police  Department,  2,  5 
Bridges,  Burtis  C. ,  3 

California,  State  of 

Bureau  of  Criminal  Identification  and  Investigation,  2,  U 

State  Police  Officers  Association,  5 
Chernin,  Milton,  3 

Edy,  John,  5 

Fuller-ton,  1 

Germany,  k 

Holmes,  Benjamin,  3 

International  Association  of  V-Men,  3 

Los  Angeles  Police  Department,  6 

modus  operand!  (M.O.),  U 

Parker,  Alfred  E. ,  3 

Regional  Parks,  5 

San  Jose  State  College,  1 
San  Quentin,  2 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley,  1 
Police  Administration,  1 
School  of  Criminology,  1 
School  of  Social  Welfare,  3 

Yolo  County,  U 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollmer  Historical  Project 

Willard  Schmidt 


An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 


Willard  Schmidt,  born  in  1908,  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as 
part  of  a  series  on  August  Vollmer,  the  man  and  the  police  professional. 
Mr.  Schmidt  brings  the  perspective  of  an  individual  ^ho  worked  his  way 
up  through  the  ranks  from  a  high  school  volunteer  to  director  of  the 
San  Jose  State  College  Police  School.  Mr.  Schmidt  also  brings  the  per 
spective  of  experience  as  a  member  of  Earl  Warren's  crimebusting  squad. 


Time  and  Setting 
of  the  Interview: 


Narrative  Account 
of  Mr.  Schmidt 
and  the  Progress 
of  the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

One  interview  was  held  on  Friday,  August  27,  1971,  at 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department.  The  location  was 
selected  as  convenient  for  both  the  interview  subject 
and  interviewer.  Mr.  Schmidt  was  ir.  the  bay  area 
briefly  for  a  visit,  and  the  Berkeley  Police  Department 
kindly  made  space  available  for  the  interview  through 
John  Hoi strom.  The  interview  began  at  around  7  p.m. , 
with  Chief  Holstrom  sitting  in  for  about  15  minutes 
at  the  start  of  the  interview,  and  concluded  at  about 
9  p.m. 

Jane  Howard  edited  the  interview  for  typing  and  clerical 
errors.  Mr.  Schmidt  corrected  spelling  of  names  and 
amplified  and  clarified  some  of  the  sections  discussing 
policing  technology.  The  changes  were  not  major. 

This  interview  is  particularly  notable  for  its  lengthy 
discussion  of  Mr.  Schmidt's  participation  in  Earl  Warren's 
raids  on  bootlegging  and  gambling  establishments  in  the 
1930' s,  and  for  Mr.  Schmidt's  thoughtful  reflections  on 
the  changes  in  policing  since  Vollmer's  time. 

Willard  Schmidt  was  born  in  Berkeley,  California  in  1908. 
While  attending  Berkeley  High  School,  Schmidt  became 
interested  in  policing  and  worked  during  his  last  two 
years  in  high  school  as  a  volunteer  trainee  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department.  On  graduation  in  1928  he  went  to  work 
for  the  department  and  served  in  &  variety  of  positions 
until  1938  when  he  left  to  teach  at  the  San  Jose  State 
College  Police  School.  Schmidt  went  from  this  position 
to  the  directorship  of  police  training  at  Sacramento 
State  College.  During  the  war,  he  was  the  national  chief 
of  internal  security.  After  the  war,  he  completed  his 
bachelor's  degree  at  San  Jose  State  and  went  on  to  become 


Willard  Schmidt  (cont.  ) 

director  of  the  San  Jose  State  College  Police  School, 
a  position  which  he  held  until  19&».  Mr.  Schmidt 
currently  serves  on  the  California  Council  of  Criminal 
Justice,  among  other  activities. 

The  interview  opens  with  discussion  of  how  Mr.  Schmidt 
came  to  know  August  Vollmer:  his  father  was  one  of  the 
men  who  urged  Vollmer  to  run  for  town  marshal  in  1906. 
When  Schmidt  went  to  work  on  a  voluntary  basis  for  the 
Berkeley  Police  Department  as  a  high  school  Junior  he 
became  acquainted  with  Vollmer. 

Schmidt  discusses  his  early  years  in  the  department,  and 
his  recollections  of  Vollmer,  saying  that  Vollmer  was  a 
nan  who  encouraged  his  staff  to  try  out  new  ideas. 
Schmidt  emphasizes  that  many  of  the  innovations  for 
which  Vollmer  received  credit  resulted  from  ideas  devel 
oped  by  other  men,  both  In  the  department  and  in  the 
Berkeley  community,  notably  Clarence  Lee. 

Schmidt  comments  on  Vollmer *s  philosophical  outlook  on 
life,  relating  an  incident  from  the  night  before  Vollmer 's 
suicide.   He  also  talks  briefly  about  Vollmer' s  second 
wife  Pat.  Reflecting  on  the  current  problem  of  aliena 
tion  of  the  police  from  the  community,  Schmidt  feels  that 
Vollmer  might  have  had  some  answers  to  current  problems. 
He  discusses  Vollmer 's  willingness  to  try  out  new  ideas 
proposed  by  the  community  residents,  and  staff.  He 
speaks  of  Vollmer 's  lighter  side,  discussing  swimming 
trips  and  Vollmer 's  guitar  playing. 

The  interview  turns  to  Vollmer1 s  "crab  clubs,"  regular 
Friday  training  sessions.  In  response  to  a  question, 
Schmidt  explains  that  Vollmer  was  strongly  opposed  to  use 
of  the  third  degree,  to  verbal  abust  of  criminals,  and 
to  petty  theft  from  criminals  by  police  officers. 
Schmidt  feels  that  this  attitude  was  an  important  factor 
in  the  respect  of  Berkeley  lawbreakers  for  the  Vollmer 
police  force. 

Schmidt  returns  to  the  difference  in  the  relation  between 
police  and  the  community  now  and  then,  attributing  the 
good  relations  that  characterized  Vollmer 's  era,  in  part, 
to  superior  personnel,  Vollmer 's  personal  rapport  with 
many  community  members  and  leaders ,  and  to  the  fact  that 
most  policemen  lived  in  the  community  at  that  time. 


Willard  Schmidt    (contd. ) 

A  lengthy  discussion  of  Schmidt's  relation  to  the 
Earl  Warren  crimebusting  squad  follows,  as  planned 
by  Schmidt,  Miss  Howard  and  the  Bancroft  Library 
Regional  Oral  History  office.     Schmidt  collected 
photographic  evidence  on  many  raids.     He  discusses  the 
gambling  parlors  and  speakeasies  in  Emeryville, 
Warren's  investigative  staff,  the  techniques  used  in 
raids,  and  Vollmer's  cooperation  with  Warren  in  the 
conduct  of  the  raids.     He  comments  on  various  members 
on  Warren's  raiding  team. 

After  this  discussion  of  Warren's  crimebusting,  the 
interview  returns  briefly  to  August  Vollmer,  and  his 
work  with  the  press,   followed  by  further  discussion  of 
the  speakeasies  and  Vollmer's  attitude  toward  prohib 
ition.     Schmidt  talks  about  the  careful  patrols  made  at 
night  by  foot  patrolmen  in  their  assigned  areas.     He 
returns  briefly  to  discussing  the  Warren  raids. 

The  interview  concludes  with  comments  on  how  Vollmer 
made  clothes,   food  and  lodging  at  the  city  Jail  avail 
able  to  the  poor  and  needy  in  the  community. 

JRH:  How  did  you  get  to  know  Vollmer? 

Schmidt:  He  was  a  friend  of  our  family  going  back  to  Vollmer's  running  for 
Town  Marshal.  My  uncle,  George  Schmidt,  at  the  time  was  the 
Postmaster  and  they  needed  someone  to  run  for  Marshal  vho  was  a 
popular  man  in  town  and  Volloer  was  a  postman  and  my  uncle  called 
him  in  and  said  we  want  you  to  run  for  this  particular  position 
and  I  guess  there  might  have  been  a  few  misgivings  but  anyhow,  he 
did  say  he  would  run  and  was  elected  the  first  Marshal. 

JRK:  Do  you  know  how  he  came  to  Berkeley  and  to  be  a  postman? 

Schmidt:  I  don't  know  where  he  came  from  or  anything  like  that.  He  was  a 
friend  of  my  father  as  well  and  I  didn't  know  this  but  my  first 
contact  with  him  personally  was  through  a  career  day  situation 
given  by  the  Berkeley  YMCA  in  conjunction  with  the  high  school. 
In  your  llth  year  they  asked  you  what  you  were  interested  in  and 
they  would  have  one  person  from  the  career  field  for  each  two 
persons  so  I  was  the  only  one  that  said  I  was  interested  in  police 
work  and  my  sponsor  at  that  time  was  Inspector  Albert  S.J.  Woods 
who  was  sent  up  to  talk  to  me.  He  got  the  impression  that  I  was 
sincerely  interested  and  said,  "Why  don't  you  drop  down  and  talk 
this  over  with  Chief  Vollmer  and  I'm  sure  he'd  be  interested  in 
you."  I  did  and  as  usual  the  Chief  said,  "There's  only  one  way 
to  find  out  if  you  like  it  and  that's  to  try  it."  "So,  when  you 
get  through  school,  you  may  want  to  come  over  here  and  do  some 
typing  and  this  sort  of  thing,"  which  I  did. 

Then  the  man  who  finally  became  my  father-in-law,  Captain  Lee, 
started  teaching  me  fingerprints  and  photography  and  before  I  was 
18  years  old,  Lee  suffered  a  very  serious  injury  to  his  hand  —  he 
nearly  had  his  hand  cut  off  at  the  wrist  and  there  wasn't  anybody 
to  do  photography  and  fingerprinting  on  the  basis  of  latent  dusting 
and  this  sort  of  thing  which  Captain  Lee  had  shown  me.  I  started 
doing  it.  Then  I  took  an  examination  for  the  department  and  passed 
it  and  when  I  was  18  years  old  I  was  asked  to  be  appointed  to  a 
position  as  clerk.  I  didn't  have  a  badge  or  anything  like  that  but 
I  could  carry  a  concealed  weapon  which  I  used  when  I  went  out  on 
emergency  calls.   I  was  treated  like  a  regular  police  officer  and 
from  then  on  I  was  Just  like  anybody  who  had  access  to  the  Chief. 
If  you  wanted  to  see  the  Chief,  you  could  see  him. 

JRH:  You  were  given  more  patrolman-type  duties? 

Schmidt:  It  was  mostly  clerical  —  fingerprints,  photography,  records,  etc. 

Then  I  finally  went  into  the  clerical  division  when  I  was  twenty-one 
as  a  records  clerk.   I  worked  in  nearly  every  division  of  the  de 
partment  with  the  exception  of  the  budget. 

Schmidt:    I  suffered  an  in-service  injury  and  the  doctor  suggested  I  go 
on  the  outside  when  I  became  a  patrolman.   I  mention  this  injury 
because  Vollner  always  saw  to  it  that  his  men  were  well  taken 
care  of  and  we  all  respected  him  for  it.  There  was  a  meeting 
with  the  City  Manager  and  the  City  Attorney  tnd  the  Chief  said 
he  wanted  his  men  to  know  that  they  were  going  to  be  protected. 
If  they  should  have  to  think  for  only  two  or  three  seconds  if 
things  are  going  to  be  all  right  or  not,  some  life  might  be  lost. 
It  was  important  to  myself  and  a  lot  of  other  men  to  know  that  the 
Chief  would  stand  up  for  us  in  adverse  situations  and  who  would 
stand  up  for  them  when  they  were  right. 

If  it  hadn't  been  for  a  man  like  Vollmer  why  I  can  remember  two 
times  when,  in  a  normal  police  department,  I  j.robably  would  have 
been  fired  from  the  standpoint  that  I  didn't  do  enough  work.  When 
the  Chief  read  the  supervisor's  report  he  called  me  in  and  gave  me 
the  material  he  was  given  and  I  Just  told  him  what  I  was  doing  and 
he  knew  enough  about  the  Job  to  know  that  I  was  more  than  doing  my 
work.  He  always  wanted  to  get  both  sides  of  the  story.  To  me, 
Vollmer  was  the  kind  of  man  that  if  you  made  a  mistake  this  was 
all  right,  if  it  was  a  mistake  that  was  the  result  of trying.   He 
didn't  want  you  to  make  the  same  mistake  twice,  but  a  mistake  that 
was  made  sincerely  is  progress  and  he  accepted  it.  because  he  was 
this  way.   If  you  ever  went  in  to  see  him  and  vou'd  knock  on  the 
door  and  open  it ,  he  could  tell  by  the  look  on  your  face  that  you 
had  some  sort  of  an  idea  and  he'd  say,  "Come  in."  If  you  had  an 
idea  he'd  say,  "There's  only  one  way  to  fin-i  out,  let's  try  it." 
After  a  certain  period  of  time  we'd  get  together  again  and  he'd 
say,  "How's  it  working  out?"  and  he  had  the  ability  to  know  that 
the  person  who  was  working  on  it  should  have  some  ideas  about  how 
it  should  be  fixed  or  whether  it  was  a  failure.  Very  seldom  would 
he  say  no  on  something  that  was  controversial  without  giving  his 
point  of  view. 

JRH:  So  you  were  saying  when  you  came  in  he  would  ask  you  what  your 
ideas  were? 

Schmidt:  That's  right.   You  could  always  discuss  things  with  him.   If  you 

had  something  detrimental  to  say  about  somebody  he'd  never  let  you 
say  it  unless  the  other  person  was  present,  which  was  my  tendency 
and  I've  always  done  this  particular  thing  too.   I  think  that  all 
the  men  that  worked  with  him  felt  this  way.   I  would  say  that  he 
was  very  strong  on  seeing  the  adaptability  of  certain  things  to 
police  service  and  the  ability  to  know  the  abilities  and  interests 
of  other  people,  with  the  result  that  he  would  have  a  kind  of  pro 
tective  covenant  toward  a  person  who  was  working  on  something  in 
the  area  of  police  work. 

For  example,  Captain  Clarence  D.  Lee  who  was  a  friend  of  Vollmer 's 
before  he  (Lee)  came  to  work  for  the  police  department,  came  here 
because  of  the  big  fire  in  Can  Francisco.  Captain  Lee  was  the 
Secretary  of  the  SiW  Food  Company  and  he  had  a  number  of  children 

Schmidt :  to  support ,  so  after  the  fire  he  needed  a  job  and  Vollmer  asked 
bin  to  come  to  work  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department.  I  don't 
know  whether  he  knew  that  Lee  would  be  able  to  bring  business 
principles  to  the  department,  but  this  was  the  very  start  of 
business  principles  being  applied  in  police  work.  Captain  Lee 
started  a  records  division  —  index  cards,  cross  filing,  if  you 
please.  This  was  done  by  Captain  Lee  in  various  areas  so  that  it 
improved  police  service.  You  could  go  in  and  look  up  the  number 
of  a  watch  that  had  been  stolen.  It  was  Just  purely  business 

The  Berkeley  Police  Department  was  one  of  the  first  police  depart 
ments,  with  Oakland,  that  started  fingerprints.  Captain  Lee  did 
this,  but  Vollmer  was  there  and  they  were  working  together  and 
there  was  a  lot  of  teamwork.  The  modus  operand!  that  came  from 
Llewelyn  Atcherly  in  England  was  gone  over  by  Captain  Lee  and 
Vollmer  and  they  came  up  with  Vollmer 's  system  of  M.O.  which  was 
the  same  as  Atcherly 's  with  the  exception  of  two  points.  These 
two  which  were  left  out  of  the  sequence  of  the  English  version: 
Pal  and  Tale  Told.   In  other  words, to  be  able  to  connect  a  crime 
that  had  had  an  object  of  attack,  place  of  attack,  instrument  of 
entry,  point  of  entry.  The  English  vent  a  little  further  than  they 
did  here  from  the  standpoint  that  the  pal  you  were  with  might  indi 
cate  who  you  were.   In  other  words,  if  you  and  I  worked  together  and 
we  were  safe  (lock-box)  persons  and  if  you  were  found  in  the  prox 
imity  of  it ,  then  they  could  start  looking  for  me  if  they  knew  you 
and  I  were  pals.  This  was  recorded  in  record  procedure.  The  tale 
told  would  be  if  you  were  surprised,  what  your  alibi  was  to  be.   It 
was  the  thinking  that  on  the  basis  of  being  surprised  you  would  more 
or  less  go  into  your  subconscious  or  some  background  of  experience 
that  you  had  so  that  you  could  talk  about  it.   So  they  would  be 
able  to  identify  the  person.  The  two  items  of  sequence,  i.e., 
"Pal  and  Tale  Told,"  were  to  be  covered  under  an  area  listed  as 
"Trademark"  in  the  Vollmer  concept  or  revision.   "Trademark"  items 
of  the  Vollmer  M.O.  System  were  to  cover  peculiarities  related  to 
the  perpetrator  and  not  necessarily  related  to  the  res  gestae  or 
the  statutory  requirements  of  the  crime  or  offense.   In  handwriting, 
Captain  Lee  became  interested  in  handwriting  on  the  basis  of  its  use 
in  forgeries,  bad  checks,  etc.  He  wrote  one  of  the  first  books, 
with  Ronald  Abbey  of  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  on  the  classifi 
cation  and  identification  of  handwriting.  All  with  Vollmer  there 
and  helping. 

The  use  of  the  lie  detector  which  was  first  brought  to  the  attention 
of  the  Chief  by  Leonard  Keeler.   It  had  a  metal  camber  on  it  and 
Captain  Lee  invented  one  that  had  a  pressure  cylinder  that  ran  on 
the  basis  of  rubber  so  that  the  heat  contraction  and  expansion  during 
the  run  of  the  machine  did  not  have  as  much  of  a  problem  as  it  did 
with  camber  at  that  time.  Any  idea  a  person  had,  Vollmer  would 
encourage  you  and  never  belittle  you.  At  least  I  never  knew  of  an 
instance  where  he  belittled  anybody.   He  would  say  there  are  a  lot 
of  unsung  heroes  in  the  police  service  that  he  got  credit  for  be 
cause  he  was  the  head  of  it;  it's  Just  like  a  General  taking  a 

Schmidt:  citation  for  his  group. 

Now  there's  one  thing  that  Vollmer's  given  credit  for  and  it  was 
written  up  in  the  Elk's  magazine  and  he  would  have  been  the  first 
person  to  say  that  he  was  not  responsible  for,  and  it  was  on  the 
Junior  Traffic  Police.  Now  this  is  more  or  less  recognized  all 
over  the  country.  When  Vollmer  was  in  Los  Angeles  and  an  interim 
Chief  of  Police,  Captain  Lee  was  the  Acting  Chief  here  and  they 
evidently  were  experiencing  accidents  in  the  school  areas  here. 
They  were  having  problems  of  traffic  and  Captain  Lee  had  read  in  the 
paper  or  heard  about  something  that  they  were  doing  in  San 
Francisco,  so  he  called  up  San  Francisco  to  inquire  about  it  and 
he  knew  the  person  personally.  The  fellow  told  him  what  they  were 
doing  over  there  and  Lee  said,  "Well,  we're  going  to  try  it  here 
too,"  and  they  did  and  they  put  Officer  Bert  Fraier  in  charge  of 
the  thing  and  that's  how  it  grew. 


Schmidt : 

People  have  told  me  that  Vollmer  started  it. 
that  Vollmer  had  started  it. 

General  Dean  mentioned 

No,  this  is  not  true.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  I'm  going  to  see 
Captain  Lee  tomorrow  and  I'm  going  to  ask  him  and  he'll  know  the 
name  of  the  person.  But  it  was  operating  over  in  San  Francisco. 
Now  San  Francisco  didn't  follow  it  up,  as  I  understand,  with 
the  result  that  it  was  enhanced  here  with  signs  that  would  come  out 
over  the  street.  They  didn't  have  the  Junior  Traffic  Police  getting 
out  into  the  street  where  they'd  stand  and  put  the  stop  sign  out. 
They  eventually  had  a  barrier  that  was  operated  with  a  handle  that 
was  on  a  standard  that  would  swing  out  over  the  line  of  traffic 
above  the  top  of  the  automobiles.  This  was  the  first  part  of  the 
Junior  Traffic  Police. 

The  studies  that  were  made  in  the  records  division  led  to  the 
sequence  of  the  describing  of  a  person  on  the  fingerprint  cards 
which  is  more  or  less  standard  procedure  particularly  in  the  State 
of  California  and  that  is:  the  hair,  eyes,  height,  weight,  and  age. 
Over  a  period  of  years  they  made  a  study  of  what  a  person  would 
recognize  first  on  another  individual.  The  most  points  went  to 
hair,  and  then  eyes,  height,  weight  and  age.  That's  the  reason  why 
they  would  put  it  in  that  sequence  and  it  was  very  helpful  because 
when  you  were  talking  to  a  citizen,  when  you  started  at  the  head 
of  the  list  and  got  to  the  end,  you  knew  that  you'd  gone  through 
the  whole  thing,  rather  than  in  haste,  and  in  the  problems  of 
making  an  investigation  you  overlook  a  lot  of  things  if  you  don't 
have  a  set  routine.   Set  routines  can  be  dangerous  too.   If  you  go 
in  with  a  preconceived  idea  about  what  you're  going  to  see  then 
you're. .. .For  example,  if  I  lose  my  knife  and  you  help  me  find  it, 
you're  going  to  pick  up  other  objects  —  money  and  that  sort  of 
thing  —  that  I  won't  pick  up  and  won't  necessarily  perceive  and 
I'll  say  I  Just  went  by  that  place  and  you're  finding  all  that  sort 
of  stuff  and  it's  because  I  know  what  I'm  looking  for  with  a 
conditioning  and  your  mind  is  still  receptive. 

Schmidt:  My  wife  and  I've  been  on  picnics  with  Vollmer;  went  to  dances 

with  him  and  his  wife;  been  to  his  home  and  had  dinner  with  him 
and  he  was  Just  a  personal  friend.  One  thing  to  me  that  gave 
him  his  philosophical  outlook  on  life  would  be  from  the  stand 
point  that  I  think  that  I  was  at  his  place  the  night  before  his 
death  and  we  had  been  talking  that  afternoon.  And  usually  at  the 
end  of  a  gabfest  (as  he  called  them)  if  we  vere  going  to  have 
dinner  or  leave  one  another,  why  he  had  a  kind  of  a  ritual  where 
we  would  go  up  to  the  kitchen  and  have  a  cocktail  and  he  was  the 
only  one  who  knew  how  to  make  this  kind  of  a  cocktail.  And  this 
particular  evening  about  6  o'clock,  he  climbed  up  to  the  top  of 
his  cupboard  in  the  kitchen  and  got  down  his  favorites  and  put 
them  in  a  glass  and  then  he  said,  "Now  walk  over  there  and  open 
that  drawer  (since  he  had  palsy)  and  I  opened  the  drawer  and  he 
said,  "that  little  spoon  in  there,  put  that  in  the  glass  for  me, 
would  you."  I  put  it  in  the  glass  for  him  and  he  took  hold  of 
it  and  he  said,  "Well,  the  Lord  gave  me  this  affliction,  but  it's 
the  best  stirring  action  I  ever  had."  Right  up  to  the  end  he 
was  philosophical;  not  regrettable  about  it,  at  least  from  his 
outside  appearance.  At  this  time,  as  a  suggestion,  Mrs.  Miller, 
his  housekeeper  might  be  a  person  to  interview. 

JRH:  Do  you  know  where  she  is  now? 

Schmidt:   It's  my  understanding  that  when  he  died  he  gave  her  the  house. 
She  was  a  very  fine  woman  and  she  dearly  loved  the  Chief  and  he 
liked  her  too.  She  Just  took  care  of  him  "wonderfully  and  I  dare 
say  that  that  was  the  one  person  who  had  more  insight  than 
anybody  else,  because  in  his  last  days  he  suffered  extreme  pain, 
so  he  told  me.   He  said  it  was  one  of  thesi*  things.  Not  being 
able  to  get  in  and  out  of  bed  by  himself. 

JRH:  He  outlived  his  wife. 

Schmidt:  Yes.  But  he  had  two  wives.   I  think  the  first  one's  name  was 

tydia  Sturdivant.   I  was  told  she  was  a  very  fine  vocalist.  The 
other  one  we  called  Pat  and  she  was  a  very  fine  woman  and  a  wife 
and  pal  to  the  Chief.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  there  were  Just 
hundreds  of  people  that  used  to  visit  the  Chief  that  he  would 
give  information  to  and  discuss  and  who  he  helped.  He  helped  me 
and  nearly  everybody  that  he  touched.  His  wife  started  an  organi 
zation  that  she  called  the  "V-Men."  We  didn't  know  who  all  were 
in  it  because  it  was  a  kind  of  thing  between  the  two  of  them, 
where  she  would  give  you  this  little  gold  V  and  that  was  to  say, 
"Well,  you're  a  Vollaer  man  now.  You  can  be  trusted  and  you're 
honest  and  you're  a  professional  policeman."  I  used  to  discuss 
with  the  Chief  the  difference  between  a  law  enforcement  man  and 
a  policeman  and  this  is  particularly  true  when  we  got  closer  to 
the  era  we're  in  now  and  I  believe  that  there  is  a  decided  dif 
ference  between  a  law  enforcement  man  and  a  policeman. 

JRh:   In  what  sense? 

Schmidt :  The  law  enforcement  man  is  a  person  who  has  had  to  use  the  area 
of  selective  neglect  from  the  police  field.  The  police  field  is 
a  very  broad  thing.  Service  ideal  is  one  of  the  things  important 
to  people.  More  and  more  demands  are  made  by  the  public  and  with 
the  less  money  we  have  to  work  with,  we  have  to  find  the  areas  of 
neglect  on  a  priority  basis,  so  I  call  it  selective  neglect,  with 
the  result  that  we  come  down  to  the  particular  situation  now  that 
instead  of  an  on  view  arrest,  which  is  an  arrest  made  by  an  officer 
out  on  the  beat,  we're  so  busy  rendering  work  to  a  call,  as  a 
result  of  a  citizen's  call,  you  very  seldom  ever  see  a  pedestrial 
patrolman.  When  I  used  to  check  my  doors  on  Shattuck  Avenue, 
people  would  smile  and  say,  "Good  evening,  officer"  and  if  you  see 
a  man  walking  the  street  now  in  uniform,  people  turn  around  to  look 
and  perhaps  follow  him  to  see  what's  doing.  This  has  done  some 
thing  to  the  heart  of  our  community.  We  have  two  officers  together 
now  for  mutual  protection  and  we  have  lost  the  contact  with  the 
public  because  even  in  a  confessional  you're  alone  with  a  person 
so  how  would  you  want  to  give  some  information  that  would  be  con 
sidered  confidential  where  there's  two  people  together.  This  is 
an  area  of  selective  neglect  in  police  service,  with  the  result 
that  the  farther  we  get  away  from  that,  the  more  we  are  Just  law 
enforcement,  which  would  be  bad.  Vollmer  might  have  had  an  answer 
to  some  of  this  or  he  would  have  found  somebody  who  had  an  idea 
and  back  him  up. 

There  was  a  time  when  the  business  people  of  Berkeley  were  up  in 
arms  about  the  parking  situation:  whether  they  should  park  parallel 
or  diagonal.   It  was  a  very  serious  situation  from  the  standpoint 
of  the  Chief  because  the  traffic  engineer  said  we  park  this  way 
because  it's  safer  and  they've  painted  it  this  way.  The  business 
men  came  down  to  City  Hall  and  instead  of  Vollmer  getting  mad  and 
saying  we  know  what  we're  doing,  he  said,  "Gentlemen,  what  do  you 
want?"  They  said  they  wanted  a  certain  situation  and  he  said,  "Let's 
try  it . "  They  tried  it  and  came  back  in  three  or  four  months  and 
said,  "you're  right,  change  it  the  other  way." 

In  my  administration  when  a  man  got  into  trouble  or  got  the  depart 
ment  into  trouble  and  it  was  an  honest  mistake,  ask  him  first,  how 
did  he  think  we  could  get  out  of  it  and  ninety-nine  times  out  of 
one  hundred  a  person  that  has  gotten  into  trouble  knows  a  way  out 
of  it  if  it's  Just  a  mistake  of  progress.  This  is  Just  an  off sprout 
of  Vollmer "s  philosophy  that  I  Just  said  in  a  different  way.   Ke'd 
say,  well,  let's  try  it,  and  at  least  this  gave  him  time  enough  to 
think  in  case  you  didn't  have  the  right  answer. 

Vollmer  was  a  good  swimmer.  He  used  to  swim  up  at  Putah  Creek 
while  pickni eking.  We  would  go  up  there  with  Captain  Lee  and  his 
family.   I  used  to  go  to  the  same  school  with  Marjorie  Lee  long 
before  she  became  my  wife,  but  I  didn't  know  she  was  related  to 

Schmidt : 

Bob  Lee  who  was  a  longtime  friend  of  mine.  When  I  was  working 
at  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  we  had  an  assist  case  for 
Contra  Costa  County  on  an  accidental  death  that  proved  to  be  a 
murder  out  in  Walnut  Creek  —  the  Schwartz  murder  case  —  and  I 
was  only  about  16  or  17  years  old  and  we  were  going  out  to  make 
an  investigation  of  that  particular  case  and  Captain  Lee  was  going 
out  at  night  to  make  his  investigation.  He  took  me  over  to  his 
place  for  dinner  and  that's  when  I  found  out  that  Marjie  was  the 

sister  of  this  fellow  I  went  with, 
related  to  Captain  Lee. 

So  that's  how  I  started  to  get 

Incidentally,  the  clue  that  brought  it  to  a  head  that  this  was  a 
murder  out  there  rather  than  a  suicide  or  an  accident  was  due  to 
the  fact  of  the  application  of  Bertillon  from  the  standpoint  of 
the  picture  that  was  enlarged  compared  to  one  taken  of  the  corpse. 
In  other  words,  the  head  profile  (badly  burned)  of  the  corpse  was 
taken  on  an  original  8  x  10  plate  and  it  was  nearly  life  size. 
There  was  another  small  picture  of  a  group  and  It  had  pictures  of 
the  heads  about  an  l/8th  of  an  inch  high,  one  known  to  be  Schwartz. 
We  photographed  and  enlarged  the  "exemplar  head"  to  the  same  size 
as  the  8  x  10  plate  and  in  the  profile  view  we  found  that  it  was 
not  Schwartz  that  was  dead;  that  Schwartz  had  a  straight  nose  and 
the  one  of  the  corpse  was  concave.  The  septum  was  all  gone  in  the 
corpse  so  this  is  when  they  started  making  a  further  inquiry  and 
found  out  where  Schwartz  was  staying.   Schwartz  was  a  scientist  and 
had  done  work  for  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  in  scientific 
evidence.  He  had  insurance  for  his  wife  and  had  a  paramour  in 
Oakland.   Schwartz  murdered  a  tramp  of  his  general  size  and  used 
the  body  in  a  set  up  to  make  it  appear  that  an  explosion  and  fire 
accidently  took  place  in  his  laboratory,  he  being  killed  in  the 
explosion.  Thus  Schwartz  would  be  mourned  by  his  wife  but  he  would 
be  able  to  live  out  his  life  with  his  paramour  under  a  pseudonym. 
Captain  Lee  and  Ralph  Pidgeon  who  was  a  Sergeant  of  Berkeley  Police 
at  the  time  and  some  Oakland  policemen  went  down  to  his  place  of 
abode  in  Oakland  but  he  shot  himself  before  they  could  get  in  to 
him  and  make  an  arrest. 

Vollmer  was  quite  a  music  and  song  man.  He  loved  to  play  the  guitar. 
I  used  to  play  the  accordian  and  Captain  Lee  played  the  banjo. 
Vollmer  played  with  a  zest  and  he  seemed  to  be  a  very  versatile 
man  in  all  of  his  pursuits.  We  all  dearly  loved  him.   It  might  seem 
as  though  we're  prejudiced  —  well,  if  it's  prejudice  that's  all 
right  as  far  as  I'm  concerned  because  he  was  a  very  fine  person. 

JRH:  I  haven't  found  anyone  who  disliked  him. 

Schmidt :  He  would  be  the  first  one  to  admit  and  the  one  who  would  have  it 
straightened  out  that  he  took  many  a  citation  because  it  belonged 
to  the  group.   He  always  gave  you  credit. 


JRH:  Do  you  remember  any  of  the  picnics  or  parties  with  him? 

Schmidt:  He  was  Just  like  anybody  else.  When  he  was  on  a  picnic  he  wasn't 
the  Chief,  he  was  Just  people.   I  wouldn't  call  it  relaxed,  but 
it  would  be  Just  like  either  you  or  me  on  a  picnic.  This  situa 
tion  of  bowing  to  him  because  he  was  the  Chief  never  entered  your 

It  has  been  a  wonder  to  a  lot  of  us  as  to  the  reason  why  Vollmer 
did  not  drive  an  automobile.   His  wife  Pat  always  drove  for  him 
and  he  was  a  pretty  good  steerer  at  times,  I  understand.   I  Know 
one  rather  unusual  anecdote  about  the  Chief;  it  was  during  the 
pioneering  stages  of  the  boulevard  stop  signs.  They  were  being 
concerned  with  color  and  shape.  Now  to  you  at  your  age  you've 
accepted  them  as  a  standard  thing,  but  at  the  very  start  of  this 
thing  there  was  a  question  as  to  whether  they  should  be  triangular, 
square  or  octagonal;  what  would  be  the  most  visible  color.  They 
went  to  the  scientists  to  find  out  whether  green  or  yellow  or  red 
would  be.  They  had  installed  a  sign  at  Bancroft  and  Telegraph 
Avenue  where  they  were  making  a  study  to  find  out  the  number  of 
people  that  noticed  the  sign  and  stopped  as  compared  to  signs 
elsewhere  which  were  a  different  type  and  shape  and  things  like 
that.  Officer  Clarence  Taylor,  who  was  in  charge  of  the  traffic 
division,  was  driving  the  Chief  down  Bancroft  Way  and  he  (Taylor) 
was  saying,  "Now  I  think  that's  about  the  best  sign  we've  got." 
Well,  they  stopped  about  where  the  campus  theater  was,  which  was 
about  a  half  a  block  below  Telegraph  Avenue  and  he  said,  "Chief, 
you  know  what  we  Ju§t  did?"  Vollmer  said  "What?"  and  Taylor  said, 
"We  were  talking  about  that  stop  sign  and  we  went  through  it  I" 
Vollmer  told  me  this  a  number  of  times  because  it  gave  him  an  idea 
about  how  people'  can  violate  laws  unknowingly  with  the  result  that 
he  didn't  get  mad  at  anybody  when  they  went  through  a  boulevard 
stop  sign  because  it  happened  to  him. 

I  think  it  was  the  philosophy  of  all  of  us  that  we  might  hate  the 
transgression  but  not  the  transgressor.  We  all  were  brought  up  on 
his  philosophy  and  part  of  it  was  that  if  we  had  a  case  with  you 
now,  it  was  forgotten  on  the  next  case.   I  think  he  realized  that 
if  there  was  any  man  from  his  department  who  was  resentful  or  was 
the  type  of  person  who  thought,  well,  while  I  won't  be  able  to  get 
him  to  court,  he's  going  to  have  to  stay  in  Jail  overnight.  Vollmer 
wouldn't  stand  for  any  of  this.  None  of  us  would.  If  you  fired 
your  gun  you  would  have  to  get  up  before  the  whole  group  on  the 
Friday  Crab  Club  hour  and  give  the  factors  of  what  happened  and 
then  there  was  a  decision  made  by  the  men  from  the  standpoint  of 
this  way  or  this  way;  right  or  wrong.  No  matter  how  you  fired  the 
gun  or  why  you  had  to  fire  it;  even  if  it  was  an  injured  dog  or 
something  like  that.  This  was  a  part  of  the  training,  responsibility 
for  firing  a  firearm.  This  might  of  saved  some  people's  lives,  but 
of  course,  it  might  have  cost  a  policeman  his  life. 

JRH:  Hov  often  did  he  have  these  Friday  meetings? 

Schmidt:  Every  Friday  for  an  hour  between  U  and  5  p.m.  with  the  exception 
of  during  the  summers  when  we  would  be  going  to  school  for  three 
months  every  Friday.  The  whole  department  went. 

JRH:  Who  set  up  these  training  sessions? 

Schmidt:  The  Chief,  on  the  basis  of  what  they  called  the  "Crab  Club."  For 
instance,  if  you  had  anything  against  any  man  in  the  department 
you  said  it  right  there  in  front  of  him  and  after  it  was  over  it 
was  forgotten;  you  didn't  go  out  and  squawk  about  the  man  or 
degrade  somebody  in  the  department  or  say  anything  about  him.  As 
a  result,  in  the  summertime,  they  would  have  people  like 
Dr.  Hubert  N.  Rowell  who  was  very  interested  in  sex  cases  and  the 
insanities.  Dr.  Juan  Don  Ball  who  was  a  psychiatrist;  Dr.  Stanley 
who  was  over  at  San  Quentin  and  wrote  a  book  not  too  long  ago  about 
the  criminals  in  San  Quentin,  many  others  aluo.  Vollmer  would 
nearly  every  day  go  to  the  Jail  and  talk  to  all  the  people  in  the 
Jail.  He  was  able  to  have  people  who  were  criminals  come  in  and 
lecture  and  tell  us  as  to  how  they  committed  their  crime.  One  in 
particular  I  remember  was  called  Frisco  Billy  and  he  was  reputed 
to  be  the  best  safe  man  in  the  country.   He  came  in  and  told  us 
how  he  was  able  to  open  these  safes  and  get  around  the  police. 
Vollmer  was  capable  of  convincing  these  people  they  ought  to  do 
these  lectures. 

JRH:  Dean  Chernin  told  me  Vollmer  taught  him  how  to  crack  a  safe  and 
also  how  to  forge. 

Schmidt :  As  a  matter  of  fact ,  when  Billy  was  lecturing  to  us  we  had  a  safe 
blown  up  at  Friedman  Paint  Company  and  a  number  of  us  stayed  up 
there  overnight  because  the  person  in  the  American  Grill  had  seen 
people  on  top  of  the  roof  and  told  them  to  get  off  and  they  got  off. 
We  thought  they  were  going  to  come  back  there  again  to  blow  the 
safe  up  so  we  waited  all  that  weekend  and  Monday  morning  when  the 
paint  store  openedup  they  said  "Hey,  our  safe  has  been  blown  open." 
What  had  happened,  the  persons  knew  their  business  so  well  they 
wrapped  the  safe  and  they  used  a  technique  with  nitroglycerin  —  I 
don't  know  whether  you're  interested  in  this  sort  of  thing. 

JRH:   Yes. 

Schmidt:  They  put  paper  in  the  crack  of  the  safe  at  the  top  (cigarette 

paper)  and  puttied  all  the  sides  and  the  bottom  with  octagen  soap 
and  they  poured  the  nitro  on  top  of  the  paper  and  let  it  seep  down 
and  when  it  started  to  come  down  to  the  bottom  where  a  small  opening 
was  left,  they  knew  how  much  they  had  to  have  and  they'd  stop  that 
up,  put  the  igniter  at  the  top  and  then  they  wrapped  the  whole  safe 
with  a  bunch  of  cloths  —  drop  cloths  and  wallpaper  —  and  when  it 
went  off  there  was  Just  a  "wuff."  Just  took  the  door  off  to  a 
place  about  that  far  (l/8th  inch  as  shown  by  spacing  between  thumb 
and  index  finger).  You  could  then  Just  fores  it  open  about  an 


Schmidt:  l/8th  of  an  inch.  Jimmy  was  giving  this  lecture  while  they  were 

knocking  off  the  safe  and  we  never  did  prove  who  did  it.  I  got  in 
on  a  lot  of  these  so-called  stakeouts  because  that  time  I  didn't 
smoke  and  in  many  places  where  you  had  to  be  in  —  buildings  under 
construction,  where  people  were  throwing  creosote  to  cause  damage 
or  people  were  stealing  out  of  stores  at  night  and  you  didn't  know 
who  it  was  --  the  fact  that  I  didn't  smoke  didn't  bother  me  when 
I  had  to  be  in  a  place  for  eight  hours  and  where  if  they  had  another 
man  who  usually  smoked  he  would  have  to  refrain  because  the  scent 
of  smoke  would  betray  him.  The  fact  that  I  was  working  for  two 
years  without  pay  between  the  age  of  16  and  18,  (I  was  in  every 
division)  doing  work  for  them,  working  at  night  with  a  patrolman 
and  things  like  that,  I  could  go  where  I  wanted  to  or  where  they 
wanted  me  and  the  experience  I  got  was  wonderful.  This  could  have 
never  happened  in  any  other  department  except  that  Vollmer  said  this 
is  what  you  can  do.   I  went  to  him  one  time  and  he  could  tell  from 
the  frown  on  my  face  that  something  was  wrong.  He  asked  me  what 
was  the  matter  and  I  said,  "Chief,  you  told  me  to  find  out  if  I 
wanted  to  be  a  policeman  and  I  said  I  didn't  think  I  could  do 
this  sort  of  thing."  He  said,  "What's  the  matter T"  and  I  said, 
"I'm  sick  to  my  stomach  because  I  Just  locked  up  a  man."   It  was 
the  first  person  that  I  had  ever  locked  up  and  I  was  about  16  or 
17  years  old.  He  said,  "Well,  now,  this  is  the  type  of  person  we 
like  to  get  in  police  work."  If  you  had  any  part  in  you  that  was 
resentful  or  you  kept  anything  against  anybody,  he  didn't  want  you 
in  the  Department.  He  was  a  humanitarian.  You  didn't  hit  anybody 
except  in  defense  of  yourself;  you  didn't  abuse  anybody;  you 
treated  a  lady  as  a  lady  regardless  of  her  walk  in  life. 

JRH:  People  say  he  was  very  much  against  giving  the  third  degree  tactics 
or  getting  confessions. 

Schmidt:  Absolutely.   I  don't  like  to  use  confessions  because  that  had  con 
notations  of  abuse.   I  like  to  say  the  person  made  a  statement 
admitting  his  guilt.   You  didn't  do  this.   If  you  hit  anybody  or 
anything  like  that  you  were  through.  There  was  no  second  time  and 
you  were  told  about  it  beforehand.   He  didn't  want  you  to  Just  stand 
there  and  get  beaten  up,  but  we  all  had  the  theory  that  you  were  a 
poor  policeman  if  you  couldn't  keep  your  temper  if  a  drunk  cussed 
you  out.  This  was  one  of  the  personality  traits  he  wanted. 

The  offenders  of  the  law  had  respect  for  the  Department.  For 
example,  I  remember  the  time  on  the  West  Berkeley  beat,  we  had  a 
fellow  who  had  been  arrested  for  burglary,  iudecent  exposure, 
forgery,  and  was  a  problem.  I  told  him  to  leave  the  corner  down 
there  one  night  because  he  was  pretty  drunk.   I  said,  "Spot,  get 
off  the  corner  because  you're  looking  like  the  dickens."  He  said, 
"All  right,"  and  I  came  back  about  15  minutes  later  and  he  still 
was  there.   I  said,  "Spot,  what  did  I  tell  you?"  He  said,  "For  me 
to  leave  the  corner,"  and  I  said,  "Now  what  do  you  think  I  ought 
to  do  with  you?"  and  he  said,  "Lock  me  up."  So  I  went  over  to  the 
box  to  call  for  the  wagon  to  come  and  lock  him  up  and  at  that  time 


Schmidt:     the  steady  light  cane  on.     The  red  light  that  hangs  out   in  the 
middle  of  the  street  and  they  have  a  way  of  signaling  you.      In 
other  words,  if  your  number  was  26,  it  would  flash  twice  and  then 
a  short  time  lapse  and  six  times  followed  by  a  long  time  lapse, 
and  when  it  came  on  steady  this  meant  an  emergency  and  all  the 
police  all  over  town  were  supposed  to  find  out  what  was  doing. 

Just  about  the  time  I  was  to  hit  the  box  the  steady  light  came  on 
and  I  answered  and  was  told  there  was  a  fight  at  the  Mexican 
section  house.     It  would  be  better  to  stop  a  fight  where  someone 
might  get  killed  than  bring  in  a  drunk  so  I  reached  in  my  pocket 
(I  didn't  tell  the  Sergeant  about  "Spot")  and  I  got  a  dime  and 
said,   "Here,  Spot,  take  the  streetcar  and  turn  yourself  in."     So 
he  tells  the  Sergeant  what   I  said  and  he  did  it.     Most  of  Berkeley 
offenders  thought  the  world  of  Vollmer.     He  knew  Vollmer  and 
Vollmer  knew  Spot  and  it  was  because  he  used  to  visit  the  Jail  Just 
about  every  morning  and  talk  to  the  people  rfho  were  in  there  and 
see  if  they  had  been  treated  well.      He  might  arrest  you,  but  by 
gosh  you  were  treated  like  a  gentleman.     This  was  part  of  all  of 
us.     Not  because  of  the  Chief  but  because  he  only  kept  people  who 
believed  in  this. 

JRH:     Were  there  other  things  he  didn't  tolerate  besides  the  third  degree? 

Schmidt:     Dishonesty  fromthe  standpoint  of  taking  something  that  didn't  belong 
to  you.     For  example,  bringing  in  a  drunk  and  taking  the  money  out 
of  his  pocket  and  saying  he  didn't  have  it  because  he's  drunk  and 
doesn't  know  how  much  money  he's  got.      I  wouldn't  doubt  but  what 
there  were  times  that  he  would  have  people  do  this,  not  so  much  to 
find  out  whether  or  not  we  were  dishonest,  but  to  be  able  to 
defend  us  when  someone  accused  us,  and  there's  a  difference  there. 
At  least   I  feel  this  way  about  it.     When  I  was  a  patrolman  if 
someone  made  accusations  about  us  the  first  thing  we'd  do  was  call 
in  our  Sergeants  to  defend  us.     Our  Sergeants  were  not   "snooper- 
visors"  they  were  supervisors.      If  we  did  have  a  snoopervisor,  he 
didn't  last  long  under  the  Chief.      I  don't  say  that  it  was  hard 
to  get  that  type  of  man  in  Berkeley  at  that  time  because  Berkeley' 
was  a  town  with  a  lot  of  good  citizens  during  Vollmer' s  regime 
here  and  later. 

At  one  time  I  know  Berkeley  had  the  highest  drunk  rate  of  any  town 
inthe  United  States.     This  was  a  result  of  the  fact  that  anytime 
anyone  was  drunk,  there  were  three  or  four  citizens  who  would  call 
up.     But  there  are  other  towns  I  could  name  that  if  they  happened 
to  see  a  drunk  in  the  gutter  they'd  say,   "Well,  he's  been  out." 
On  the  second  day  if  he  was  still  there  they'd  say,   "I  wonder  if 
he's  got  any  money,"  then  on  the  third  day  when  the  flies  were  in 
and  out  of  his  mouth  and  he  was  bloated  they'd  say,  "Hey,  I  wonder 
if  he's  dead."     There  were  different  people  here.     Prostitution  — 
you  wouldn't  have  an  arrest  for  prostitution  here  once  in  three  or 
four  years.     We  only  had  about  two  murders  when  I  was  in  the 
department.      I  don't  know  whether  two  wanted  fellows  are  still 
alive:   Louis  Guerrerra  and  Feliz  Maldinado.     The  type  of  people  we 
had  in  Berkeley  had  a  part  in  the  Vollmer  story. 


Schmidt : 

Schmidt : 


Schmidt : 

That's  an  interesting  part  that  no  one  has  talked  about  before. 

It  would  be  interesting  to  go  back  to  the  newspapers  of  the  time 
he  was  here  to  find  the  headlines  of  some  of  the  cases  which 
were  headlines  three  inches  high  and  now  are  on  the  second  page. 
For  example,  now  I  read  in  the  paper  where  a  man's  head  was  blown 
off  and  there's  a  byline  only  about  a  quarter  of  an  inch  high  and 
it's  about  three  inches  long  on  the  first  page  and  two  inches  on 
the  next  and  they  say  there  were  narcotics  there  and  no  more  than 
usual.     Why,  narcotics  arrests  in  Berkeley  when  I  was  a  police 
officer  and  when  Vollmer  was  here  were  unusual,  which  indicated 
the  type  of  people  we  had. 

Why  do  you  think  Berkeley  had  such  different  kinds  of  people  than 
other  communities? 

Well,  this  gets  into  a  lot  of  sociological  situations, 

Compared  to,  say  Emeryville  or  Oakland  at  that  time. 


I  might  explain  it  this  way.     When  you  talh  to  people  about 
personnel,   if  you  have  90/1  of  your  people  in  an  organization  that 
are  tops,  they're  in  a  position  to  boost  the  poor  ones  out.     Much 
like  the  PGfcE.      If  they  get  a  bummer,  they  Just  don't  belong.     And 
so  when  we  started  getting  that  percentage  down  here  to  the  60's 
and  70' s,  then  your  good  people  leave  because  they're  rather 
inclined  not  to  want  to  upset  anybody.      Or  they  give   in  easier 
and  pretty  soon  you  have  the  ones  who  are  economic  cowards: 
close  to  pension,  their  wife  is  sick  or  the  roots  are  so   far  down 
that  they're  scared  to  do  anything.     To  me,   I  hear  an  awful  lot 
about  Berkeley  but   I've  been  in  Berkeley  for  two  days  and  I've 
had  more   "Hello"  and  "How  are  you"   from  the  Black  people  and  other 
people  haven't  even  waved.     People  are  Just   scared  to  say  hello. 
This  makes  police  work  harder.     The  policemen  at  that  time  were 
known  as  individuals  because  we  were  a  small  community.     There  was 
a  time  when  they  were  recognized  taking  their  children  to  church 
and  knew  that  the  policeman  was  a  human  being. 

Did  they  tend  to  live   in  the  community  in  those  days? 
Always  did. 

There  was  a  time  when  I  was  an  Acting  Sergeant  —  I  was  never  a 
Sergeant.      I  was  an  Acting  Sergeant  as  a  lot  of  us  were.     There 
were  a  number  of  misgivings  about  a  number  of  us  being  Acting 
Sergeants  when  they  had  positions  for  five  and  they  only  filled 
the  positions  with  two.     We  used  to  think  the  city  was  saving  a 
lot  of  money  and  maybe  they  did,  but   it  may  also  have  been  on  the 
basis  of  a  training  program  for  us  because  even  though  I  was  an 
Acting  Sergeant  I  learned  an  awful  lot.     We  used  to  get  together 
and  divide  the  watch  and  if  I  was  entitled  to  Sunday  off  we  would 


Schmidt:  agree  among  ourselves  and  if  there  were  four  denominations  in 

that  shift,  that  you  could  go  to  your  church  once  in  four  times 
on  a  trade-day-off  basis  so  that  people  could  see  you  with  your 
children  and  wife  and  that  gives  people  a  different  outlook. 
You  Just  don't  appreciate  a  person  until  you  can  realize  that  a 
policeman  can  cry  when  a  member  of  his  family  is  dead  and  that 
he  hates  to  see  an  animal  killed.  In  that  respect,  Pat  O'Keefe, 
who  was  a  patrolman,  had  a  dog  he  had  to  shoot  and  he  held  the 
dog's  head  in  his  hand  out  of  pity  and  shot  him  in  the  head  and 
put  a  bullet  through  his  finger  on  the  other  side  of  the  dog's 

JRH:  How  was  Vollmer  a  part  of  the  comnunity? 

Schmidt:  First,  when  he  was  elected  Marshal  he  had  been  a  postal  carrier 
and  it's  my  understanding  that  he  used  to  be  the  carrier  for  the 
other  carriers  that  were  off  on  vacation,  sick  leave,  etc.  with 
the  result  that  he  was  known  all  over  town  and  his  service  ideal 
in  seeing  to  it  that  they  got  the  letters  with  a  hello  and  the 
personal  contact  with  his  customers  was  more  than  anybody  else 
in  town,  so  everybody  knew  him.   I  go  back  a  long  time  because 
my  family  was  the  second  family  and  had  the  first  house  in 
Berkeley.  The  Caustigan  house  was  called  the  first  but  it  was  in 
Oakland  on  the  other  side  of  where  the  Claremont  Hotel  now  stands. 
I  don't  think  that  there  were  more  than  500  -  1,000  people  here 
and  when  the  University  started  here  the  town  grew.  We  had 
college  professors  living  here,  we  had  business  people  from  San 
Francisco  living  here.   It  was  a  different  type  of  an  economy. 

JRH:  Was  there  any  industry  at  that  time? 

Schmidt :  Oh  yes .   In  fact  there  was  a  lot  of  sqawking  about  the  Ford 

Motor  Company  which  they  did  not  let  put  their  plant  here,  but 
Ford  put  it  in  Richmond  instead.  They  let  the  Heinz  Pickl*  Works 
put  their  factory  up  here.  This  sort  of  thing  was  a  terrific 
impact  in  Berkeley.  They  aroused  the  public  on  this,  but  now  they 
could  care  less.  Whether  this  is  good  or  bad  I  don't  know. 
Berkeley  was  a  cultural  town,  with  family  Sunday  treks  to  the 
University  of  California  grounds,  the  Greek  Theatre  for  dramatics 
and  musicals.  The  Parathania  was  enjoyed  as  an  annual  event  by 
a  tremendous  audience.  People  picknicked  on  the  University  of 
California  grounds  with  its  beautiful  landscaping  and  places  of 
repose . 

They  had  a  situation  here  where  the  business  machines  were  first 
used  in  police  work.  The  first  machine  that  they  had  here  was 
the  old  Powers.   It  had  a  round  key  punch  hole  and  in  discussing 
modus  operand!  with  the  person  who  came  from  the  Powers  Company, 
I  mentioned  to  him  one  day  that  we  did  not  have  enough  columns  on 

Schmidt:     the  card  to  be  able  to  take  care  of  the  modus  operand!  and  the 
various  aspects  of  the  crimes  and  our  cases.      (They  call  it 
programming  now.)     He  said  they  couldn't  get  any  «ore  columns 
on  the  card  and  I  said,  "You  can  if  you  do  away  with  the  circles." 
He  said,  "What  do  you  meant"     I  said,  "With  the  clrclea  you've 
got  one,  two,  three  areas  so  if  you  move  them  over  you  have 
space  in  the  central  area  and  you've  picked  up  another  position." 
He  said,  "My  gosh,"  and  that's  where  it  started,  the  idea  of 
having  the  parallelograms  as  we  call  them  now  instead  of  the 
round  circles  and  I'll  bet  they  still  have  the  round  punch  cards 
here  in  the  early  records.     The  Hollerith  machine  came  out  and  it 
still  had  the  round  and  I  don't  know  whether  IBM  started  the 
parallel  or  not,  but  at  least  the  idea  originated  in  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department. 

JRH:     Did  you  meet  Vollmer  as  a  child? 

Schmidt:      I  probably  met  him  at  the  Elks'    Club  because  I  used  to  go  to  the 
Elks'   Club  with  my  Dad  when  I  was  a  young  squirt  but  I  wouldn't 
have  remembered  him  then.      He  and  my  father  vere  very  close 
friends.     They  used  to  talk  kind  of  Chinese  mimicry  to  one  another 
and  had  fun  together  but   I  was  Just  a  little  bit  of  a  fellow.     My 
very  first  personal  contact  with  him  was  after  I  went  to  the  YMCA 
career  meeting. 

JRH:     Why  don't  we  talk  about  the  crime  busting  thing  with  Warren? 

Schmidt:     In  this  era,  Prohibition,  around  1928,  bootlegging  flourished  in 

the  Emeryville  area.     There  was  also  some  of  it  in  the  departments, 
although  the  major  part  of  the  department  didn't  have  any  part  of 
it.     Even  in  the  Oakland  Police  Department  there  were  arrests  of 
some  of  their  people  who  were  in  it.     It  got  to  the  extent  that 
if  a  policeman  was  standing  in  front  of  a  certain  establishment, 
that  meant  it  was  alright  to  go  in  there  and  gamble  and  drink  your 
liquor.      If  he  wasn't  there  don't  go  in.      It  was  to  the  extent 
that  if  the  District  Attorney  would  call  on  the  Department  and  say 
bring  your  men  in  to  plan  a  raid,  they  knew  they  were  going  to  have 
a  raid.     With  the  result  that  if  the  policeman  wasn't  standing  in 
front  of  the  place,  he  had  been  called  in,  which  indicated  that 
Earl  Warren  was  going  to  pull  a  raid .      In  other  words ,  let ' s  say 
that  we  have  a  police  department  that  is  amenable  to  bootlegging. 
They  knew  when  there  was  going  to  be  a  pending  raid  when  they 
would  get  all  the  police  officers  from  that  department   into  the 
squad  room  to  discuss  who  they  were  going  to  raid.      So  when  the  police 
man  had  to  leave  this  area  to  go  down  and  have  this  discussion,  they 


Schmidt:     would  say  there's  going  to  be  a  raid  and  would  be  found  sitting 
around  playing  dominoes.     That's  how  bad  it  was. 

JRH:     They  had  a  pretty  good  alert  system. 

Schmidt:     That's  right.      A  very  good  term.     After  they  did  make  arrests 
there  was  nothing  done  on  the  basis  of  certain  Judges.     They 
had  a  select  number  of  Judges  so  you  would  get  search  warrants 
and  that  sort  of  thing  with  the  result  that  the  cost  of  "knock 
ing"  over  these  places  started  to  become  prohibitive.      In 
gambling,  which  was  the  Olema  Club,  that  was  a  place  in  Emeryville 
that  had  a  square  block  and  they  ran  buses  to  Sacramento,  Stockton 
and  San  Francisco  to  bring  people  in  there  to  gamble.     They  had 
a  place  that  was  highly  secured  from  the  standpoint  that  you  had 
to  go  through  two  doors  and  these  doors  were  never  opened  at  the 
same  time.     You'd  go  into  a  little  room  and  then  the  other  door 
would  open  up  and  lookouts  would  look  at  you  as  a  "check  out"   from 
both  sides.     They  had  a  complete  automotive  repair  shop  there  so 
that  if  you  had  a  hit  and  run  car  you  could  take  your  car  in  and 
for  a  certain  sum  it  would  be  fixed  up.      Beautiful  place  inside  — 
seven  safes  to  carry  the  money  in  and  it  was  a  big  operation. 
That  was  in  connection  with  prostitution  as  well  as.... it  was  a 
wide  open  area. 

They  would  start  to  raid  a  place  and  they  had  the  doors  laminated 
with  steel  between  them  so  it  would  be  hard  for  you  to  bust 
through.     We  used  to  be  able  to  get  in  with  battering  rams  and 
axes,  but  then  they  made  the  entrances  to  the  doorways  with  a 
slanting  wall  so  that  you  couldn't  swing  your  axe.     You  couldn't 
get  around  the  corner  with  a  battering  ram;  finally  they  got  to 
the  spot  where  they  had  opened  the  door  and  they  would  pour  the 
liquor  down  the   sink,  with  the  result  that  they   (the  Investigators) 
went  over  and  got  enough  alcohol  content  in  sponges  so  that  they 
were  able  to  have  a  case.     Then  pretty  soon  the  law  enforcement 
officers  started  getting  it  out  of  the  gooseneck  under  the  sink 
where  they  dumped  the  liquor  and  then  the  bootleggers  would  take 
the  gooseneck  out  and  have  it  go  into  a  straight  pipe  into  the 
sewer  where  it  couldn't  be  retrieved.     The  law  enforcement  people 
would  get  under  the  house  at  the  time  they  weren't  there  and  cut 
the  pipes  so  that  it  would  run  down  into  a  bucket  and  finally  they 
got   so  they  concreted  this.     This  raiding  group,  under  Earl  Warren, 
and  his  assistant  Charley  Weir,  was  officiated  by  Capt.    Helms; 
Oscar  Jansen  was  the  man  under  Capt.    Helms  and  under  Oscar  Jansen 
he  had  a  group  of  men  named  George  Hard,  Heningson,  Chet  Flint  and 
two  other  people  I  don't  recall  now.     They  were  the  raiding  people. 

JRH:     Were  they  employed  by  the  D.A.'s  office? 

Schmidt:     They  were  investigators  for  the  District  Attorney.     Just  like  they 
would  be  patrolmen  in  the  police  department. 

JRH:     Mrs.   Fry  at  Bancroft  thought  that  at  first  he  didn't  have  any  paid 
staff.     Do  you  know  about  that? 


Schmidt:     This  could  have  been  before  my  time. 
JRH:     At  that  time  he  did  have  how  many  men? 

Schmidt:     Helms,   Harry  Piper  —  Helms  was  Captain,  then  next   in  command  vat 

Oscar  Jansen,  and  then  his  men  were  Harry  Piper,  George  Henningson, 
George  Hard,  Chet  Flint  and  another  fellow.     Those  were  the  persons 
I  worked  with  and  also  there  would  be  times  when  Warren  would  ask 
for  25  or  30  men  from  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  to  go  down 
there.     They  would  Just  start  "knocking"  over  the  places.      I 
remember  ve  got   into  one  place  one  time  and  Officer  Harstad  from 
the  Berkeley  Police  Department  had  to  shoot  *.t  a  fellow  because  he 
was  shot  at  when  he  went   into  the  place  that  was  being  raided. 

They  got  an  idea  that  they  would  take  photographs  of  these  places. 
We'd  gotten  to  the  particular  spot  and  we'd  know  how  these  houses 
were  built  and  we'd  get  up  in  the  attic  and  walk  across  where  we 
thought  we  would  be  in  the  barroom  and  you'd  Jump  up  in  the  air  and 
put  your  hands  over  your  face  and  fall  down  into  the  room  and  be 
able  to  grab  the  bottles  of  liquor  before  they  got  rid  of  them. 
The  bar  and  the  place  where  they  had  the  liquor  would  be  below.      It 
was  plaster  up  there  and  it  would  support  a  person  so  you  would 
walk  on  the  ceiling  Joists  and  Just  come  down  through  the  plaster 
but  you  wouldn't  know  whether  you  would  hit  F.  chair  or  fall  on  top 
of  somebody  or  whatever  it  would  be.      I  would  take  pictures.      I 
would  come  down  sometimes  and  others  would  too. 

JRH:     With  the  camera? 

Schmidt:     Oh  no.     The  camera  was  too  big  and  heavy.     Big  8  x  10  view  camera. 
The  camera  was  brought  in  after  the  initial  raid.      You  had  to  be 
very  selectful  in  the  pictures  you  took  because   in  those  times  we 
only  had  magnesium  flashes  and  you  couldn't  take  more  than  two  or 
three  pictures  because  of  the  flash  smoke   in  the  room  would  obliter 
ate  the  scene.      From  then  on  we  started  taking  pictures  and  in  all 
these  places  they  vere  having  trouble  with,  they  were  able  to  abate. 
They  didn't  have  to  call  any  witnesses  because  Warren  produced 
these  pictures  in  court  and  what  could  the  Judges  do  but  convict. 

JRH:     That's  how  you  came  into  it? 

Schmidt:      Yes.     And  that's  how  I  knew  about  Earl  Warren  and  how  he  started 
from  the  standpoint  of  a  gangbuster  plus  the  fact  that  he  made 
investigations  and  arrested  the  Sheriff  of  Alameda  County. 

JRH:     Sheriff  Becker  is  a  name  I'm  supposed  to  ask  you  about. 

Schmidt:     Yes,  Becker  and  a  Captain  of  the  Highway  Patrol.     They  were   sent 

to  San  Quentin  and  were  convicted  on  the  basis  of  a  paving  scandal. 
I  forget  the  name  of  the  Captain  of  the  Highway  Patrol.     The 
scandal  had  to  do  with  the  buying  of  rights  of  way  and  getting  too 
much  money  for  the  paving  of  some  of  the  streets  in  Alameda  County, 
as   I  recall. 


Schmidt :  There  were  situations  where  I  happened  to  be  in  Oakland  and 

sometimes  I  would  go  to  the  dance  hall  in  Oakland  and  the  Chief 
knev  that  I  was  going  there.  Through  those  people  there  I  was 
able  to  affect  more  arrests  on  felony  arrest  warrants  than  any 
of  the  other  fellows  put  together  because  I  got  to  know  the  girls 
and  they  got  to  know  me  and  they  didn't  know  that  I  was  a  police 

I  found  out  that  they  had  some  rather  large  stills  in  Oakland. 
This  involved  a  number  of  Oakland  police  officers.  Through 
Earl  Warren  they  were  "knocked  over"  and  I  did  something  there 
that  I  shouldn't  have  done  and  I  didn't  find  out  that  I  had  done 
wrong  until  I  got  into  a  chemistry  class  about  15  years  later 
when  I  retired  and  went  to  San  Jose  State.  With  all  the  alcohol 
fumes  I  thought  that  when  I  set  off  the  flash  that  it  would  ignite 
the  alcohol  fumes  but  I  found  out  later  that  alcohol  will  not 
ignite  that  way  and  we  broke  out  all  the  windows  out  of  the  house 
without  the  need  to. 

These  alcohol  raids  in  connection  with  Earl  Warren  didn't  last 
Just  one  or  two  days;  it  went  on  for  months.  When  we  would  go 
into  a  house  that  was  a  two-story  house,  there  would  be  nothing 
but  five  gallon  cans  of  alcohol  and  you  would  arrest  the  man  that 
was  there  and  it  would  take  the  rest  of  the  night  to  break  the 
alcohol  out  of  the  cans.  You'd  have  to  hit  Jt  at  least  six  times 
on  all  sides  and  on  the  top  and  bottom.   I  remember  oae  particular 
night  when  Oscar  Jan sen  and  Helms  thought  we  were  going  to  be  in 
a  lot  of  trouble  because  there  was  so  much  alcohol  that  was  in  one 
house  and  it  came  out  in  the  back  yard  and  flowed  out  the  driveway 
into  the  gutter  and  started  flowing  down  the  gutter  and  about  three 
blocks  away  a  person  threw  a  match  in  it  and  it  started  coming  up 
the  street  and  putting  water  and  alcohol  together  and  it  takes  an 
awful  lot  of  water  to  saturate  the  alcohol  to  the  point  where  it 
won't  catch  on  fire.   It  got  right  out  to  the  front  of  the  house 
and  into  the  driveway  before  we  were  able  to  get  it  out.  These 
raids  took  a  period  of  a  year  or  so  with  the  result  of  the 
notoriety  and  what  Warren  stood  for  —  that  he  was  a  champion  of 
the  cause  of  good  citizenship  and  law  and  order. 

JRH:  I'd  like  to  hear  how  you  got  detailed  into  this  raiding  group. 

Schmidt :  I  was  in  photography  and  other  places  where  they  had  a  photographer 
they  would  have  to  tell  him  ahead  and  they  were  scared  to  tell 
anybody  else  because  they  didn't  know  who  they  could  trust.  Most 
of  the  people  they  could  trust  were  at  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department.  Vollmer  and  Warren  were  close  friends.  There  was  a 
period  of  time  when  all  the  new  Deputies  came  to  Berkeley  as  Deputy 
District  Attorneys  because  of  the  fact  that  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department  had  so  much  training  that  it  helped  those  people  learn 
the  ropes  from  the  standpoint  of  dealing  with  honest  policemen. 
Now  I'm  not  saying  that  other  police  departments  were  dishonest,  but 
the  reputation  was  that  anybody  who  was  working  for  Vollmer  could 
be  counted  on  where  in  some  other  instances  they  might  not  know  for 


Schmidt :  That  was  the  beginning  of  the  Warren  and  Vollaer  coabination  and 
my  first  contact  with  the  raiding  group.  lie  knows  me  and  one 
tine  I  gave  his  name  as  a  reference.  This  was  the  time  when  I 
got  a  Job  with  the  government  and  I  was  in  charge  of  policing  the 
Japanese  camps  after  the  evacuation  and  I  was  in  a  riot  in  Tule 
Lake  when  a  personnel  investigator  came  up  and  said  you're  in 
trouble.  I  asked  him  what  was  the  natter  and  he  said  I  have  the 
name  of  Earl  Warren  as  a  reference  in  your  57  Form  and  we  went 
down  to  see  him  and  he  says  he  doesn't  know  you.  I  said  well 
maybe  he's  like  everybody  else  —  no  one  knows  my  name  as  Willard, 
they  all  knew  me  by  my  nickname  "Huck"  and  maybe  he  only  knows  me 
by  "Huck."  So  he  saw  me  about  four  months  later  and  he  said  he 
went  to  see  the  Governor  again  and  when  he  said  "Huck  Schmidt" 
the  Governor  said,  "Of  course,  I  didn't  know  him  by  Willard." 

Earl  Warren  had  a  wonderful  memory  for  names  and  faces.  He  had 
the  ability  to  remember  faces  and  connect  them  and  was  like  an 
old  Bertillon  man.  There  for  a  long  time  when  they  wanted  someone 
on  the  basis  of  a  circular  or  photograph  that  they  would  use  the 
Bertillon  man  of  the  department  to  go  out  and  try  to  search  for 
the  man  because  they  were  concerned  with  earmarks  and  various 
measurements  of  the  faces  so  that  they  were  able  to  remember  the 
things  by  attaching  them  to  the  individuals.  Warren  had  a  keen 
ability  to  remember  names. 

JRH:   I  guess  I  misunderstood  you  over  the  phone  when  I  talked  to  you. 
I  thought  you  said  you  did  something  with  cryptography  or  some 
thing  like  that.  Did  you  mean  photography? 

Schmidt:  No,  cryptography  was  Captain  Lee.  That  was  analyzing  secret 

writing  on  the  basis  of  frequency  of  items  that  you're  able  to 
decode  and  that  sort  of  thing.   I've  done  a  little  bit.  Captain 
Lee  was  more  interested  in  it  and  so  was  Vollmer.  We  would  discuss 
these  things  even  at  a  picnic  as  to  whether  it  was  a  lot  of 
hullabaloo  or  whether  it  was  something  you  could  feel  sure  that 
you  could  say  a  person  did  commit  a  crime  on  the  basis  of  this 
cryptoanalysis.  At  that  time  we  all"  agreed  that  we  wouldn't  want 
to  put  ourselves  in  that  position. 

JRH:  Do  you  know  of  any  other  ways  in  which  Vollmer  and  Warren  worked 

Schmidt:  Oh  yes.  Vollmer  would  know  what  Warren  was  doing  because  Warren 
was  using  Vollmer 's  men. 

JRH:  On  these  raids  and  in  other  things? 

Schmidt:  That's  right.  When  they  needed  more  than  four  people.  For 

example,  with  the  Olema  Club,  I'd  say  there  were  close  to  UO  police 
officers  there  one  night.  We  arrested  about  200  people  in  an 
evening.  Those  people  were  even  brought  from  the  Olema  Club  in 
Emeryville  up  in  our  Patrol  Wagon,  what  we  called  the  "Pike  Wagon" 
or  the  Black  Maria  and  they'd  put  so  many  in  there  at  one  time  the 


Schmidt ; 



Schmidt : 




Schmidt : 

front  wheels  came  off  the  ground  and  it  couldn't  be  driven. 
They'd  have  to  take  people  and  put  them  up  in  front  or  take  them 
off  the  rear  because  there  was  so  much  overhang  in  back  of  the 
rear  wheels  that  excessive  weight  raised  the  front. 

How  come  they  could  put  them  in  the  Berkeley  Jail  if  it  happened 
in  Emeryville?  Wasn't  there  a  question  of  Jurisdiction? 

Well,  this  could  have  been  a  technicality  and  I  didn't  know  any 
thing  about  it.   I  do  know  we  had  the  prostitutes  from  down  there. 
There  was  some  technical  way  Mr.  Warren  knew  that  this  could  be 
taken  care  of.  Maybe  their  Judges  weren't  available  at  that 
particular  time.   It  might  have  been  that  it  was  the  Volstead  Act 
and  it  wasn't  an  ordinance.   It  had  to  be  legal  otherwise  Warren 
wouldn ' t  have  done  it . 

Did  his  staff  get  larger? 

I  never  knew  of  his  staff  getting  any  larger  than  the  ones  I  knew. 
Piper  was  in  charge  of  homicides  and  when  he  left  they  had  to  get 
several  people  in  to  replace  him.  How  large  it  got  I  don't  know. 
Harry  Piper  was  a  homicide  investigator  and  incidentally  he  got 
with  Earl  Warren  through  Vollmer  because  Piper  was  injured  in 
World  War  I  and  it  was  on  the  basis  of  rehabilitation  that  he  came 
to  work  as  a  fingerprint  person  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department 
and  he  was  very  small  and  could  never  have  passed  the  physical 
height  requirement  in  any  police  department.   He  was  a  real  bang-up 
police  investigator.  A  human  dynamo.  He  had  an  oriental  look 
and  dark  hair;  he  wasn't  an  oriental  but  he  could  have  done  some 
very  good  undercover  work  too.   I  don't  know  if  he  ever  did.   You 
see,  Emeryville  was  a  manufacturing  town  and  it  wasn't  very  much 
residential  with  the  result  that  this  could  never  have  happened 
in  a  town  like  Berkeley  because  it  had  different  people. 

Do  you  remember  Chester  Flint?  I  gather  he  was  on  the  police  force 
when  you  were.   Is  that  right? 

He  was  in  the  Alameda  County  District  Attorney's  Office. 

Do  you  still  know  him  or  do  you  remember  what  he  was  like  then? 

Sure.   I  remember  what  he  was  like  then  and  he's  still  the  sc 
and  his  son  is  Just  about  like  him.  He  was  a  hard  working  law 
enforcement  man  and  he's  a  lot  older  than  I  am  and  working  with 
that  type  of  person  too,  when  I  was  17  and  18  years  old,  his  service 
ideals  kind  of  rubbed  off  on  me.   They  were  (Warren's  men)  always 
perfect  gentlemen  and  never  abused  anybody.  You  knew  where  you 
stood  with  them.   I  remember  when  we  opened  the  Olema  Club  which 
was  a  place  where  you  could  take  all  the  money  to  hold  as  evidence. 
With  all  of  us  trying  to  get  in  they  were  able  to  take  some  of 
the  money  from  the  gambling  tables,  of  which  there  were  15  to  25, 
and  they'd  put  the  money  in  a  safe,  with  the  result  that  Oscar 
Jansen  told  the  head  man  who  was  there  to  open  the  safe.   He  said 


Schmidt:  no,  the  boss  had  the  combination  and  I  don't  Know  it.  So  I  asked 
Oscar  if  he  wanted  the  safe  opened  and  he  said  yes  and  I  said 
"Well,  I  can  do  it  for  you,"  and  he  said,  "Go  ahead."  I  went  to 
the  machine  shop  and  got  a  sledge  hammer  and  a  drift  pin  and 
knocked  off  the  combination  and  drifted  the  pin  inside  of  it  and 
opened  the  safe  and  showed  the  money.  If  you  had  lectures  given 
to  you  by  experts  right  in  your  own  department  you  could  remember 
those  things.  Vollmer  would  ask  somebody  to  give  a  lecture  and 
we'd  all  be  there  —  Uo  to  50  of  us. 

JRH:  Did  you  mention  Lloyd  Jester  as  being  one  of  the  men  who  was  an 

Schmidt:  Jester;  the  Jester  I  knew  was  the  Chief  of  Police  in  Albany.  But 
Lester  was  the  fellow  who  was  with  the  California  Adult  Authority. 
He  at  one  time  was  a  Deputy  Chief  in  Los  Angeles. 

JRH:  This  is  a  name  they  gave  me  to  ask  you  about  so  it  should  have  to 
do  with  Earl  Warren.  Lloyd  Jester  they  say. 

Schmidt:  Now  that  you  mention  it,  there's  a  possibility  that  Jester  might 
have  worked  as  an  investigator  like  Heningson  and  George  Hard  and 
Flint.  From  there  he  became  Police  Chief  of  Albany. 

JRH:  But  you  don't  know  for  sure  about  that? 

Schmidt:  No.  But  as  you  mention  it,  I  think  he  was  one  of  the  investigators 
in  the  District  Attorney's  Office  and  eventually  went  to  Albany 
after  Chief  John  Glavinovich  retired. 

JRH:  I  interviewed  his  daughter. 

Schmidt:  She  knows  an  awful  lot  about  Chief  Vollmer.  They  worked  together 
and  I  think  both  of  them  had  a  philosophy  of  fairness.  In  the 
Department  as  a  police  officer,  I,  as  well  as  others,  could  put 
on  reports  "no  publicity"  and  the  newspaper  people  at  that  time 
would  respect  that.  They  would  come  to  you  and  ask  you  why  you 
wanted  this  and  if  they  didn't  think  you  had  a  good  reason  they'd 
go  to  Vollmer  and  he'd  say,  "Well,  we  can't  do  it."  They  had 
respect  for  each  other  and  that  was  instilled  by  Vollmer  and  we 
worked  together  and  if  there  was  something  we  didn't  agree  upon 
on  the  basis  of  publicity,  they'd  tell  us  about  it  but  they  respect 
ed  our  Judgment.  This  had  a  great  deal  to  do  with  the  success  of 
the  Berkeley  Department  because  we  had  the  Post  Inquirer,  the 
Examiner,  who  was  Payne,  and  Soto  was  with  the  Post  Inquirer  and 
Rose  Glavinovich  was  with  the  Tribune  and  I  knew  all  of  them  and 
they  knew  me. 

I  remember  I  had  to  kill  a  man  one  time  and  Rose  talked  to  me  about 
it  the  next  day  and  said,  "Now  Huck,  don't  start  puffing  up  over 
it.  You  had  to  do  it  but...."  and  she  meant  it  too.   I  wasn't 
puffing  up  over  it  because  it  was  an  awful  feeling.  We  used  to  say 


Schmidt:  that  Vollmer  had  high  I.Q. '»  for  his  men.  You  had  to  have  a 
high  I.Q.  to  get  on  the  Job  but  you  had  to  be  dumb  enough  to 
see  that  you  got  scared  two  days  after  something  happened. 

We  used  to  check  all  of  our  alleys,  all  of  our  lights.  And 
whether  by  inference  or  by  talk  we  thought  it  was  a  disgrace  to 
have  a  fire  on  our  beat  at  nighttime  that  we  didn't  discover 
first  and  that  someone  else  had  called  in.  That's  the  feeling 
we  had  for  our  town's  people  that  they  had  to  be  protected  and 
it  wasn't  some  dime  novel  attitude  we  had.   It  was  a  sincere 

JRH:  One  thing  I'm  supposed  to  ask  you  is  who  did  what  part  of  these 

Schmidt:  If  you  mean  the  Warren  investigation  —  they  had  their  own 
undercover  people.  There  would  be  times  that  we  would  make 
arrests  in  Berkeley,  but  on  the  basis  of  the  attitude  of  the 
people  at  the  time  of  their  arrest,  particularly  if  they  were 
drunk.  We  would  know  almost  for  sure  the  outlet  for  that 
alcohol.   If  it  was  from  a  certain  named  person's  place,  we 
could  anticipate  fights  —  a  fighting  personality;  if  it  came 
from  another  source  it  would  be  a  person  who  would  pack  up  and 
depart.  This  was  given  back  and  forth  so  ve  would  know  if  there 
was  an  outlet.  They  made  most  of  their  own  investigations  and 
we'd  say  that  we  had  picked  up  another  person  from  "Prop"  (he 
used  to  be  one  of  the  persons  who  was  a  bootlegger  at  that  time). 

JRH:  They  were  clubs  or  Just  stills? 

Schmidt:  They  were  stills  and  outlets  mostly  in  Emeryville.   Some  places  had 
girls  with  the  liquor;  some  places  would  have  poolrooms  with  the 
liquor;  some  had  dancing  and  liquor  available;  some  places 
wouldn't  let  anybody  in  except  men  and  there  weren't  Just  one  or 
two,  there  were  many. 

JRH:  So  you  could  sort  of  guess  where  the  person  came  from? 

Schmidt:  Yes,  because  for  instance,  there  was  one  place  where  they  used  to 
spike  beer  with  ether  and  put  heating  wands  in  it.  Much  like  you 
get  a  cup  of  coffee  now  and  you  have  a  little  electrical  thing 
you  put  in  the  cup  to  heat  it.  Well,  these  were  big  ones  they  put 
in  great  big  containers  of  beer.  Then  they  had  places  in  Emeryville 
that  we  called  "Speakeasies"  where  you  had  to  know  the  name  of  an 
individual  before  you  could  get  in  and  they  had  near  beer  and  these 
college  kids  were  going  down  there  thinking  that  they  were  getting 
real  beer  when  in  fact  it  was  Just  near  beer  and  the  psychological 
conditioning  aspects  produced  some  funny  antics  with  these  people 
since  they  thought  they  were  drunk.  The  investigations  were  made 
by  people  like  Oscar  Jansen  and  when  they  needed  more  people  with 
which  to  help  with  the  raid  on  a  place,  then  they'd  call  on  us 
(the  Berkeley  Police  Department )  or  all  they  would  ask  for  would  be 


Schmidt:  me  as  the  photographer  to  take  the  pictures  because  this  was  all 
that  they  needed  to  prove  the  case. 

JRH:  Vollmer  was  big  on  scientific  techniques  I  guess.   Did  they  use 
any  other  photography  techniques? 

Schmidt:  Not  that  I  know  of,  other  than  investigational  photography. 

JRH:  A  number  of  people  have  mentioned  that  Vollmer  wasn't  too  much 

in  favor  of  Prohibition  but  he  went  along  with  it  because  it  was 
the  law,  but  he  wasn't  sure  it  was  a  good  law.  Do  you  know 
anything  about  that? 

Schmidt:  I  never  heard  him  express  this  one  way  or  another.   I  did  not 
know  Vollmer  well  enough  at  that  particular  time  to  be  in  his 
house  to  know  whether  liquor  was  being  served  or  whether  he  had 
any  himself.   I  would  think  that  he  would  try  to  uphold  the  law 
as  well  as  he  could  because  it  was  a  question  of  this  is  the 
statute  and  it's  my  Job  to  enforce  it.  But  he  wasn't  put  on  the 
spot  so  much  here  in  Berkeley  because  the  people  here  were  busy 
working  in  San  Francisco  or  Oakland  or  going  to  college  and  if 
they  did  anything  concerning  liquor,  in  most  instances  they  did 
it  away  from  home.  Like  the  difference  between  an  adolescent 
and  an  adult  —  I  would  say  that  an  adolescent  will  do  something 
within  the  home  environment  but  when  he's  an  adult  he  doesn't 
do  it  at  home,  he  does  it  someplace  else. 

JRH:  There  weren't  any  speakeasies  in  Berkeley? 

Schmidt:  I  don't  think  there  were  any  here  because  if  there  were  they  were 
knocked  over.   If  you  go  over  the  record  of  prostitution  it  would 
show  you  wouldn't  arrest  a  prostitute  in  Berkeley  but  once  every 
three  or  four  years.  Thirty  drunks  a  month  and  that  was  when  we 
had  the  highest  drunk  rate  because  they  were  all  being  reported. 
Speakeasies  —  for  heaven's  sake  —  Vollmer  had  a  system  where 
each  police  officer  would  be  in  charge  of  his  beat  and  you  were 
considered  the  chief of  your  beat.  If  you  had  a  case,  you  had  the 
responsibility  for  that  case  and  if  somebody  else  came  in  and 
started  to  work  on  it  (detectives)  you  could  say  "knock  it  off." 
Vollmer  would  put  the  responsibility  on  you  with  the  result  that 
if  you  had  a  man  who  moved  into  business,  it  was  up  to  you  in  a 
few  days  to  find  out  who  he  was  and  where  the  business  was.   You 
would  find  out  if  he  left  money  on  the  premises.  You  wouldn't 
necessarily  have  to  ask  him  specifically  about  these  questions, 
but  on  the  other  hand,  during  your  patrol  duties  you  had  to  find 
out  about  what  time  they  locked  up.  There  were  many  times  that 
you  would  be  able  to  go  to  them  and  say  now  listen,  you're  hiding 
your  money  about  12  feet  from  the  cash  register.  They'd  say  how 
did  you  know  that  and  it's  a  simple  thing  for  a  person  that  had 
the  Berkeley  training  that  when  the  girl  is  getting  ready  to  close 
up  there's  a  certain  cadence,  a  certain  number  of  steps,  and  she 
gets  the  money  bag  and  disappears  in  the  back.   You  can  use  the 
first  one  as  a  radii  and  this  is  simple. 


Schmidt:     Your  criminal  element   figure  this  out  as  well  as  ve  did  but 

the  only  thing  they  didn't  know  about   is  using  alley  cats.     An 
alley  cat  is  a  lot  better  than  a  dog.     When  the  cat  comes  out  of 
an  alley  they  always  stop  at  the  sidewalk  where  this  alley  opens 
and  he'll  look  both  ways  and  the  person  that  is  closest  to  him, 
whether  it's  two  or  three  blocks  away,  he'll  go  in  the  opposite 
direction  across  the  street.     The  enterprising  officer  gets  on 
top  of  a  building  at  various  intervals  and  looks  around  and  watches 
these  alley  cats.     Another  thing,  if  your  alley  cats  are  not  in 
the  alley  when  you  go  in  to  scare  them  out,  then  there  was  some 
body  else  there  ahead  of  you  to  scare  them  out.     Now  if  you  thought 
that  there  was  somebody  in  there  and  you  had  a  chance  to  get 
another  officer  to  help  you,  you  did  Just  that. 

Vollmer  never  allowed  anybody  to  be  a  hero.      He  had  a  theory 
that   if  a  person  is  in  there  he  sees  two  or  more  officers,  he 
wants  to  give  up  and  we  don't  have  to  shoot  a  criminal.     Where 
if  there's  Just  one  person,  he  takes  a  chance  in  getting  away. 
That's  the  reason  we  would  march  a  person  down  the  middle  of  the 
street.     People  would  say  you're  crazy.     Why  don't  you  walk  them 
down  the  sidewalk?     He  may  see  some  brush,  bushes  or  something 
else  of  like  nature  and  think  he  can  escape  and  I'd  have  to  shoot 
and  I  don't  want  to.     Walking  them  down  the  middle  of  the  street 
doesn't  put  them  in  the  position  of  taking  a  chance  in  escaping. 
This  would  be  the  type  of  police  work  that  was  a  part  of  the 
Berkeley  Department. 

JRH:     You've  given  me  a  really  good  impression  of  most  of  it.      I  don't 
like  to  make  too  many  comments  because  I'm  not  taping  my  opinion. 

Schmidt:     I  don't  know  exactly  what  you  want. 
JRH:     This   is  fine. 

Schmidt:     Now  they'd  say,  was  Vollmer  responsible  for  this  type  of  police 
work  and  I  don't  know  the  answer  to  that.      At  least  people  who 
didn't   feel  this  way  weren't  working  for  the  Berkeley  Police 
Department . 

JRH:      I  think  I've  asked  you  most  of  what's  on  here.     There  are  two 

more  questions  here.      Do  you  know  anything  about  the  prosecution 
aspect  —  which  courts  they  prosecuted  these  raids  or  anything 
like  that.      Say  like  on  this  Chinese  gambling  —  did  you  bring 
them  into  the  Berkeley  Jail  and  were  they  prosecuted  in  Berkeley? 

Schmidt:     Yes.      For  most  of  those  people  the  fine  was  paid  by  the  establish 
ment.      In  other  words,  they  posted  bail  to  be  forfeited  and  never 
showed  up  for  trial. 

JRH:      How  many  people  did  you  arrest? 


Schmidt:     One  particular  night  there  must  have  been  at  least  200.      (by  a 
raiding  party  of  some   30  or  *»0  men.) 

JRH:      In  the  Chinese  place? 

Schmidt:     Yes.      It  vas  almost  a  square  block.      It  had  a  Chinese  orchestra, 
a  stage  where  they  vould  hare  plays,  the  typical  Chinese  altar 
where  they  had  stuffed  bears  and  exotic  figures  and  it  vas 
beautiful.     The  District  Attorney's  Office  didn't  bring  too  many 
of  the  prostitutes  into  the  Berkeley  courts.     The  District  Attorney 
vas  most  concerned  vith  the  alcohol.     There  were  instances  vhere 
various  people  vere  killed  in  Oakland  and  dumped  in  Qneryville. 
Prostitution  vas  prevalent  all  over:  San  Francisco,  Oakland,  but 
not  in  Alameda  or  Piedmont.      But  there  again,  Piedmont  vas  about 
the  same  as  Berkeley  vith  the  same  type  of  people  we  had  here. 
Alameda  vas  a  comparatively  clean  town. 

JRH:     Hov  did  they  get  clues  on  these  places? 

Schmidt:      If  you  see  a  certain  type  of  person  in  a  certain  locality  it  is 
an  indication  that  there's  something  doing  there.     For  instance, 
as   I  vas  on  the  outside  working  it  ends  up  in  a  police  system  of 
thinking  as  a  patrolman.      I  vas  making  a  number  of  arrests  on 
juveniles.     Vollmer  called  me  in  like  he  vould  any  officer  and 
said,   "Huck,  what  are  you  doing  on  these  cases?     Hov  do  you  find 
out  about  persons  responsible  for  these  cases?"     I  just  said, 
"Well,  this  particular  case  you're  talking  about   I  used  the   'den 
instinct.1"     He  said,   "What  do  you  mean?"     I  said  "Well,  if  you 
have  some  young  wolves,  coyotes,  dogs  or  kittens  and  they're 
avay  from  their  ne«t  or  den  and  you  scare  them  they  return  to  their 
den.     Now  if  you  come  home  and  find  that  your  house  has  been 
entered  by  a  young  child  and  you  scared  him,  he'd  run  home   (his 
den)  and  all  you'd  have  to  do  after  you  had  three  or  four  of  those 
cases  is,  they  ran  this  way  and  that  way  and  you  could  put  an 
arrow  on  the  routes  and  triangulate  them  and  that's  vhere  it   is." 
Then  you  go  over  there  to  the  records  division  and  check  on  the 
kids  vho  are  living  in  the  area.     You  go  over  there  and  check  out 
the  kids  that  are  eating  a  lot  of  candy  or  other  objects  related 
to  the  cases. 

With  this  bootlegging  business,  sometimes  the  vives  vould  call  in 
and  talk  about  their  husbands  getting  the  stuff.      In  nearly  every 
instance  vhen  you  find  a  transgressor  that  the  family  has  been  a 
victim  of  him  as  veil.     At  least  it  vas  in  Berkeley  at  that  time. 
In  Berkeley  those  of  us  vho  vere  in  police  vork  at  that  time  — 
to  shov  vhat  type  of  people  ve  had  —  ve'd  have  clothes  that  vere 
outgrown  by  members  of  our  families  and  you'd  go  behind  a  store 
and  you'd  find  a  kid  there  some  night  and  you'd  think  you  had  a 
burglar.      You'd  ask  him  vhat  he  vas  doing  back  there  and  he'd  say 
he  vas  getting  stuff  for  his  rabbit  and  you  looked  into  his  sack 
and  you  know  rabbits  don't  eat  tomatoes  and  oranges  and  that  sort 
of  food  and  you  realized  the  kid  was  getting  food  to  eat  because 

Schmidt:     he  and  his   family  were  hungry.     So  you  had  contacts  with  the 
schoolteachers  and  you  found  out  the  number  of  people  in  the 
kid's  family,  their  ages  and  that   sort  of  thing.     Everybody 
did  it  in  the  Berkeley  Department  and  I  don't  know  whether  they 
still  do  or  not  but  you'd  get  a  box  of  stuff,   i.e.   food  and 
clothing,  and  you  wouldn't  go  up  and  knock  on  the  door  and  say 
here  it  is.     You'd  put  it  on  the  front  porch  and  leave  it. 
And  then  there  was  the  Mobilized  Women  in  this  town.     That's  a 
place  in  West  Berkeley  where  I  could  Just  give  them  a  note  and 
they  would  outfit  a  man  or  child  from  top  to  bottom:   shoes, 
shave,  bath,  etc.     Nothing  else  was  ever  said  about  it.     60 
when  you  have  this  type  of  people  to  work  with  you  have  a  good 
department  and  good  community  relations.      You  have  to  be  a 
creature  of  self-denial  because  a  fireman  can  say  I  saved  that 
person's  house  from  burning  down  but  a  policeman  can't  say  I 
saved  that  guy's  son  from  going  to  San  Quentin.     Otherwise  you 
would  have  undone  the  good  you  did. 

There's  another  thing  in  Berkeley  that  Vollmer  had  and  that  was 
what  we  called  a  "Night  Lodger"  —  any  person  could  come  in  and 
ask  for  a  night's  lodging.     He'd  be  given  two  clean  blankets 
and  a  place  to  sleep  and  a  shower  if  he  wanted  it  and  shave  and 
a  good  ham  and  egg  breakfast  in  the  morning  and  we'd  turn  him 
loose.      It  made  no  difference  whether  he  was  a  prior  burglar 
or  robber  or  whatever.     He  was  fingerprinted,  but  the  criminal 
element  had  a  respect  for  Vollmer  and  his  men.     The  Chief  was 
a  humanitarian. 


INDEX    Willard  Schmidt 

Abbey,  Ronald,  3 
Alameda,  County  of,  16 
Albany,  City  of,  20 
Alcoholism,  10-11 
Atcherly,  Llewellyn,  3 

Ball,  Dr.  Juan  Don,  9 

Becker,  Sheriff  Burton  F. ,  16 

Berkeley,  City  of,  1,  11-12,  13,  22-23,  2U,  25 

Police  Department,  3,  7,  lU,  17,  19,  23 

Town  Marshal,  1,  13 

Jails,  23 

California,  State  of 

Adult  Authority,  20 
Campus  theater,  8 
Caustigan  House,  13 
Chernin,  Milton,  9 
Crypt  ography ,  1 8 

Dean,  General  William,  k 

Elks'  Club,  lU 

Elks'  magazine,  U 

Emeryville,  City  of,  12,  17,  18-19,  21,  2U 

Flint,  Chester  "Chet",  1,  5,  16,  19 
Ford  Motor  Company,  13 
Frazer,  Bert,  U 
Friday  Crab  Club,  9 
Friedman  Paint  Company,  9 
"Frisco  Billy",  9 

Game well  Signal  System,  11 
Glavinovich,  John,  20 
Glavinovich,  Rose,  20 
Guerrerra,  Louis,  11 

Hard,  George,  15,  16 
Harstad,  Officer  Norman  H. ,  16 
Helms,  Capt.  George,  15,  l6,  17 
Keningson,  George,  15,  16 
Heinz  Pickle  Works,  13 
Hollerith  machine,  lU 


IBM,  lU 

Jansen,  Oscar,  15,  l6,  19,  21 
Jester,  Lloyd,  20 
Junior  Traffic  Patrol,  k 

Keeler,  Leonard,  3 

Lee,  Capt.  Clarence  D. ,  1,  2-3,  6-7 

lie  detector,  3 

Los  Angeles,  City  of,  20 

Maldinado,  Feliz,  11 
Miller,  Mrs. ,  5 
Mobilized  Women,  25 
modus  operand!,  3,  1*» 


Post  Inquirer ,  20 

Oakland  Tribune,  20 

S.F.  Examiner,  20 
"Night  Lodger",  25 

Oakland,  City  of,  12,  lU 

Police  Department,  lU 
O'Keefe,  Patrick,  13 
Olema  Club,  15,  18,  19 

Parathania,  13 

Payne,  Eugene,  20 

Pidgeon,  Ralph,  7 

Piper,  Harry,  16,  19 

Police  procedures  1-ff . ,  13,  18 

Powers  Company,  lU 

Prohibition,  lU,  18 

Bootlegging ,  lU 

Gambling,  15 

Prostitution,  15,  21,  22,  2k 
"Prop" ,  21 
Putah  Creek,  6 

Richmond,  California,  13 
Rowell,  Dr.  Hubert  N. ,  9 

SfcW  Food  Company,  2 
San  Francisco,  City  of,  U 
San  Jose  State  College,  17 
Schmidt ,  George ,  1 
Schmidt,  Marjorie  Lee,  6-7 
Soto,  Earl,  20 
Stanley,  Dr.  L.L. ,  9 
Sturdivant,  Lydia,  5 


Taylor ,  Clarence ,  8 
Tule  Lake,  18 

University  of  California,  13 

V-Men ,  5 

Vollmer,  Millicent  "Pat",  5,  8 

Warren,  Earl,  15-16,  17-19,  20,  21 
Weir,  Charles,  15 
Woods,  Albert,  S.J. ,  1 

YMCA,  Berkeley,  1,  lU 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library /Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollner  Historical  Project 

Muriel  Hunter 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


Muriel  Hunter,  born  in  1908,  served  as  August  Vollaer's  secretary 
during  his  early  years  at  the  University  of  California  (1932-1936).  She 
later  married  Thomas  Hunter,  one  of  Vollmer's  students,  and  she  and  her 
husband  remained  close  friends  of  Vollmer's  for  many  years.  She  brings 
the  perspective  of  a  non-police  work  associate  and  personal  friend  to  this 
series  of  interviews  on  August  Vollmer. 

Interviewer:   Jane  Howard 

Time  and 

Setting  of 

the  Interview:  One  interview  was  conducted  with  Mrs.  Hunter  on  September  lU, 

1971,  in  her  Berkeley  home.  The  interview  began  at  around 

7:30  p.m.  and  concluded  at  about  8:00  p.m. 

Editing:      The  transcript  was  edited  for  grammatical  and  paragraphing 
errors  by  Jane  Howard.  Mrs.  Hunter  edited  the  transcript, 
changing  a  couple  of  sentences  where  the  tape  had  not  caught 
her  meaning  and  correcting  several  small  errors.  The  changes 
were  minor. 

Narrat  ive 

Account  of 

Muriel  Hunter  Muriel  Hunter  was  born  in  Berkeley,  California,  in  1908.  She 

and  the  Pro-  received  three  degrees  from  the  University  of  California:  a 

gress  of  the  B.A.  in  languages  in  1930,  a  certificate  in  Medical  Social 

Interview:  Work  in  1936,  and  a  Master's  in  Social  Work  in  1957. 

Mrs.  Hunter  worked  as  Mr.  Vollmer 's  Secretary  from  1932  to 
1936.   She  married  Thomas  Hunter,  one  of  Vollmer's  students, 
and  remained  friendly  with  Vollmer  over  the  years. 
Mrs.  Hunter  went  to  work  as  a  medical  social  worker,  and 
continues  to  work  in  this  field. 

The  interview  opens  with  Mrs.  Hunter's  recollections  of  her 
work  with  Mr.  Vollmer.   She  describes  Vollmer  as  an  extremely 
interesting,  kind  and  attractive  man.  She  discusses  his 
informality  in  social  settings,  which  she  felt  contrasted 
with  his  working  manner.  Mrs.  Hunter  feels  Vollmer's  interest 
in  Juvenile  delinquency  was  her  first  stimulus  toward  a  social 
work  career. 

The  interview  touches  on  Vollmer's  work  with  the  Alameda 
County  Coordinating  Council,  establishment  of  the  School  of 


Muriel  Hunter  (contd.  ) 

Criminology  and  Vollmer's  survey  activities. 

In  response  to  a  question,  Mrs.  Hunter  recalls  that 
Vollmer  always  remained  controlled  even  when  angered.  She 
tries  to  verbalise  the  nature  of  Vollmer's  influence  on  his 
close  associates  and  finds  it  hard  to  do  so.  She  feels 
Vollmer  was  an  inspiring  and  "very  solid"  individual. 

Mrs.  Hunter  concludes  with  comments  on  Vollmer's  second 
wife,  saying  she  was  very  pleasant,  although  uncomfortable 
in  social  situations,  as  she  herself  admitted. 

Jane  Howard 

JRH:       You  worked  with  Vollaer  from  '31  to  '35? 
HUNTER:        '32,  I  think  it  was,   to   '36. 

JRH:       You,  at  the  time,  were  in  the  university  yourself? 

HUNTER:        Part  of  the  time.      Mot  when  I  started.     I'd  already  graduated 

and  largely  through  the  chief  I  got  interested  in  going  on  into 
social  work. 

JRH:        You'd  been  at  the  university  in  another  field? 

HUNTER:        Yes,   I  majored  in  languages.      In  fact,   that's  how  I  got  started; 
he  wanted  some  translating  done.     I  started  with  that  and  then  I 
walked  into  his  office  when  I  heard  that  he  was  going  up  to  the 
university,   and  asked  if  he  could  use  a  secretary. 

JRH:       You  were  doing  the  translating  while  he  was  down  in  the  police 
department  still? 

HUNTER:        Yes.     And  he  said,    "Well,  perhaps  so.      I  don't  have  anything  to 
say  about  this;  you'll  have  to  make  application  through  the 
present  administration."     Which  I  did.     So  I  worked  as  his 
secretary.     As  I  say,  about   '  31*  I  went  back  to  graduate  school. 

JRH:        So  you  worked  full  time. 
HUNTER:       For  the  first  two  or  three  years. 

JRH:        I  guess   it's  most  interesting  to  us,   from  your  point  of  view, 
well,   first  of  all,  what  kind  of  man  was  he  to  work  for? 

HUNTER:        Wonderful.     Kind,  patient,  understanding,   interesting. 

JRH:        You  did  mostly  typing?     Did  you  do  any  kind  of  research  for  him 
or  anything? 

HUNTER:  I  worked  over  some  of  the  manuscripts,  some  of  his  student's 
papers;  they  were  people  he  had  worked  with  before  that  were 
preparing  for  him,  he  was  trying  to  develop  a  police  science 

JRH:       Book  series,  you  mean? 

HUNTER:        Yes.      So  I  worked  on  the  manuscripts   for  him.      A  good  deal 
of  my  time  was  spent  with  students  at  the  university. 

JRH:        Was  that  after  they  had  actually  started  up  at  the  School 
of  Criminology? 

HUNTER:        Ho,  he  was  still  in  the  Bureau  of  Public  Administration, 
so  they  would  be  taking  courses  for  a  variety  of  things. 
I   can't  remember  what  year  it  was,  but  a  group  major  was 
developed.     My  husband  was  the  first  graduate.      It  was  a 
matter  of  chosing  different  subjects  from  different  schools 
and  different  majors.     They  have  had  group  majors  since 
then,  but  that  was  one  of  the  first. 

JRH:        Do  you  remember  any  anecdotes,  what  was  characteristic  about 
him  or  what  things  stood  out  most  about  him  to  you? 

HUNTER:        That's  hard  to  say.     As  I  say,  he  was  a  very  interesting 
man,   a  thinker;  he  vorked  things  out.     His  ideas  were 
stimulating,  and  he  had  this  wonderful  personality. 

JRH:        In  what  way?     How  would  you  describe  it  in  terms  of? 

HUNTER:        Well,   Just  a  kindly,  honest,   fair,  real  gentleman  with  a 
twinkle  in  his  eye.     Very  good  looking  man. 

JRH:        I  get  that  impression,  but  people  never  —  I've  interviewed 
only  men,  and  I  guess  they  don't  notice  things  like  that. 

HUNTER:        Well  he  was  over  six  feet,   fascinating  and  very  erect.     Rather 
gray.     Very  handsome. 

JRH:       Dean  Wilson  said  he  tended  to  dress  nicely  too. 
HUNTER:        Well,  he  did. 

JRH:       Did  he  dress   formally  or  sports  clothes  or  suits  mostly? 

HUNTER:        He  wore  suits  mostly  and  had  this  sense  of  how  he  looked, 
something  that  we  don't  have  today. 

JRH:        Some  people  say  that  he  tended  to  get  a  little  more  austere 
or  a  little  hard  to  approach  as  he  got  older,  that  people 
would  feel  a  little   frightened  of  him  because  he  was  a  very, 
very  solemn,  a  very  serious  man.     Did  you  find  that  or  something? 


HUNTFR:       I  don't  think  the  people  who  really  worked  with  him  fairly 

regularly  would  say  so.     I  think  that  they,  the  young  people 
that  were  interested  in  him,  put  him  on  a  pedestal,  and 
perhaps  they  would  feel  that  way  about  him,  they  admired 
him  so  much.      He  was  certainly  admirable,  but  he  was  a  very 
approachable  person,  although  he  tended  to  be  a  little  stiff 
in  some  ways,  a  little  formal  if  he  didn't  know  people. 
You've  heard  of  the  V-Men,  haven't  you? 

Yes,  a  little,   from  your  husband  mostly,  but... 

I  can't  remember  who  all  was  in  that,  but  we  used  to  have 
very  good  times  together,  quite  apart  from  the  work;  we'd 
go  to  picnics  and  parties.      It  seems  he  wasn't  stiff,   formal, 

JRH:       What  kind  of  things  happened;  do  you  remember  stories,  things 
you'd  do  on  those  picnics? 

HUNTER:        I  can't  remember  any  particular  story. 

JRH:        Your  husband  did  have  a  couple  of  pictures  of  him  sitting 
cross-legged  at  these  picnics.     Like  in  a  yoga  position. 

HUNTER:        He  had  a  very  good  sense  of  humor  and  he  was  stiff  at  times 
and  other  times  he  wasn't.     When  he  was   lecturing  he  tended 
to  lecture  in  a  rather  formal  fashion  except  when  he  was  telling 
a  story. 

JRH:  You  later  —  you've  gone  into  social  work  now  —  is  that 
something  you  saw  at  the  time?  People  say  he  was  really 
interested  in  social  work. 

HUNTER:       Yes,  he  was.      It  was  I  think  his  views  on  Juvenile  delinquency 
that  got  me  interested  in  it  in  the  first  place.      I  went  to 
social  work  with  that  idea  in  mind.      I  took  everything  they 
had  to  offer,  of  which,  most  developed,  of  course,  was  medicil 
social  work.     Then  I  got  fascinated  in  medicine  and  I've  been 
in  medical  work  every  since.     So  I  kind  of  dropped  my  previous 
interest,  what  started  me  off.     A  different  subject.     He  had 
been  very  interested  in  the  possibilities  of  health  problems 
and  things  of  that  kind,  when  a  child  went  wrong.      He  did 
quite  a  Job;   I  don't  know  whether  he  was  the  initiator,  but 
he  was  extremely  active  in  the  early  coordinating  council  here 
in  Berkeley.     He  was  always   fascinated  with  why  these  kids  go 
wrong.     His  ideal,  as  you  may  have  heard  from  some  others,  was 
service.     He  used  to  have  a  little  thing  on  his  desk;   I  don't 
know  where  it  originated  exactly,   a  figure  with  wide  spread  arms. 
I  don't  know  where  it  originated.      It  may  have  been  a  Grecian 
statue;   it  exemplified  service. 











In  keeping  his  office  did  he  tend  to  be  orderly  or  disorderly 
or  what  kind  of  hours  did  be  work  when  you  worked  for  him  at 
the  University? 

Fairly  regular  hours.  By  and  large  he  was  fairly  orderly, 
although  he  always  had  his  papers  spread  around. 

Do  you  remember  anything  about,  you  mentioned  a  coordinating 
council,  what  other  community  activities  was  he  involved  in? 

That  was  before  he  started  at  the  University  —  years  before. 
I  don't  really  know.     As  I  recall  when  he  was  at  the  Univer 
sity,   I  can't  remember  him  doing  anything  when  he  was  at  the 
University  except  maybe  once  in  a  while.      He'd  go  out  of 
town  for  awhile.      I  think,  as  I  recall,  he  was  asked  to  do 
consultations  in  different  cities.      I  don't  know  what  the 
occasions  were,  but  I  know  he  was  called  out  of  town  a  lot. 

It  took  about  twenty  years  after  when  you  were  working  for 
him  to  finally  get  the  criminology  curriculum  started  as  a 
regular  independent  department. 

I  can't  say,   I  don't  remember  when  it  became  a  department. 

What  I  was  thinking  about  was  —  Was  he  very  active  in 
working  to  get  a  independent  department  started  when  you 
were  working  or  was  he  Just  —  it  must  have  been  quite  a 
process   finally  establishing  a  School  of  Criminology. 

He  had  tried  to  get  several  other  courses  besides  his  own 
started;   and  I  can't  remember  now  Just  how  far  along  he 
did  get,  and  what  snags  it  ran  into. 

Do  you  remember,  one  thing  I  haven't  got  too  much   from 
anyone  else,   is  who  his  enemies  were.      It  seems  a  man 
who  was  involved  in  making  changes  must  have  run  into  some 
opposition.     People  have  mentioned  that  when  his  ideas 
were  presented  as  Chief  of  the  Police  Association  people 
would  often  think  his  ideas  wouldn't  work  at  first  and 
then  later  would  become  converts.     Did  you  know  any  people? 
We  want  to  collect  a  rounded  picture  of  the  man  and  most 
of  what  we've  heard  are  good  things  about  him.      Do  you 
know  any  people  he  ran  in  with  at  school  or....? 

Oh,  I'm  sure  there  were  people  who  disagreed  with  him. 
I've  seen  him  angry,  but  he  never  lost  his  temper. 

What  would  he  do  when  he  got  angry? 

He   didn't  yell  or 












Oh  nol  he  vas  very  calm.  He  could  be  made  angry  on  occasion 
and  then  he'd  Just  sort  of,  he  Just  didn't  do  anything  or  say 
anything.  He  thought  things  out.  He  vas  very  rational  about 
things.  No,  I  don't  know  of  any  specific  incident  or  disagree 
ment.  I  don't  remember  anybody  that  disagreed  with  him  violently. 

What  would  people  who  disagreed  with  his  ideas  say  about  his 
ideas  or  him? 

Well,  they  Just  disagreed  with  him.  They  agreed  to  disagree. 
But  he  didn't  tend  to  lock  horns  with  people? 
He  was  a  very  well  balanced  man. 

It  sounds  like  that.  We  mentioned  on  our  questionnaire,  you 
didn't  think  of  any  particular  stories  or  events  that  happened 
that  you  would  say  were  typical? 

Unfortunately,  I  can't.   I'm  sure  there  are,  but  I  can't  remember 
anything.  It's  awfully  hard  to  explain.   I  think  those  who  were 
closest  to  him  and  knew  him  best  have  an  awfully  hard  time  putting 
it  into  words,  the  influence  he  had  on  us. 

I  guess  he  had  a  very  curious  manner  that  made  it  tough  to  put 
into  words. 

He  was  really  quite  inspiring  in  many  ways.  He  was  very  sound, 
a  very  solid  person  and  yet  he  was  very  (Mrs.  Hunter  reflected, 
found  it  hard  to  specify)...  I  didn't  put  him  on  a  pedestal,  but 
I  certainly  thought  he  was  a  remarkable  person. 

Could  you  say  he  influenced  you? 
you  to  go  on  to  graduate  school. 

Well,  you  said  he  influenced 

Yes,  he  did.  He  didn't  ever  suggest  it  to  me.  It  was  Just 
that  the  areas  of  interest  he  opened  up  for  me  compelled  me 
to  do  this. 

What  kind  of  influence,  I'm  Just  kind  of  skipping  from  thing  to 
thing  to  get  some  of  the  things  other  people  haven't  said  —  how 
would  you  describe  his  wife,  what  sort  of  person  was  she  and 
what  sort  of  influence  she  had? 

On  him? 

HUNTER:        She  was  a  very  nice  person,  quite  inhibited  in  many  ways  and 
knew  it.     She  wanted  to  be  more  out-going  than  she  was.     She 
took  good  care  of  him  —  a  very  pleasant  person,  but  a  little 

JRH:     Quieter  than  him  in  a  way  then? 

HUNTER:        Oh  yes,   she  was  always  uncomfortable  in  social  situations  and 
he  was  a  social  bear  I     She  would  do  them  nicely,  but  as  she 
said  she  was  too  much  of  an  introvert,  and  she  was. 

JRH:     In  a  social  situation,  what  kind  of  person  was  Vollmer? 
HUNTER:        Oh,  affable,  gracious. 

JRH:  Would  he  be  a  leader  or...  Some  people  at  a  party  or  in  a 
social  situation  kind  of  start  things  off.  Or  was  he  more 
reserved  than  that? 

HUNTER:       Well,   in  the  party  situations  I  saw  him  in  he  was  with  the 

students,  there  wasn't  any  need  to  start  things.     Just  because 
he  was  there  was  enough  for  them!      I  don't  know  what  he'd  be 
like  in  other  kinds  of  situations. 

That's  Just  about  all  I  can  think  of.      I  don't  feel  that   I  do 
Justice  to  him,  but  I  Just  really  am  at  a  loss. 

INDEX  —  Muriel  Hunter 

Coordinating  Council,  3 
Juvenile  delinquency,  3 
Thiatian  statue,  3 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley 

Bureau  of  Public  Administration,  2 
School  of  Criminology,  2,  U 

V-nen,  3 

Vollner,  Millicent  "Pat",  5-6 

Wilson,  Orlando  W. ,  2 

University  of  California  Bancroft  Library/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 

August  Vollner  Historical  Project 

Alfred  Parker 

An  interview  conducted  by 
Jane  Howard  Robinson 

1972  by  The  Regents  of  The  University  of  California 


Alfred  Parker  was  interviewed  by  Jane  Howard  as  part  of  the 
August  Vollmer  series.  Mr.  Parker  is  a  retired  Berkeley,  California 
school  teacher  who  has  authored  two  books  on  the  Berkeley  Police  Depart 
ment  and  one  on  August  Vollmer.  He  brings  to  the  interview  a  wealth  of 
personal  and  research  knowledge  of  Vollner  and  his  police  department. 

Interviewer : 

Tine  and  Setting  of 
the  Interview: 


Narrative  Account 
of  Mr.  Parker  and 
the  Progress  of 
the  Interview: 

Jane  Howard 

A  single  interview  was  conducted  with  Mr.  Parker  on 
September  18,  1971,  in  his  brown  shingle  Berkeley 
Hills  home.  The  interview  began  at  approximately 
9:30  a.m.  and  concluded  at  10:30  a.m. 

Editing  of  the  transcripts  was  done  by  Jane  Howard. 
Some  corrections  in  punctuation  and  spelling  were 
made  and  some  blanks  left  by  the  typists  were  filled. 
Paragraphing  was  done.  Mr.  Parker  edited  quite  ex 
tensively  to  improve  the  grammar  of  the  narrative. 

Mr.  Parker  received  his  M.A.  from  the  University  of 
California  in  1932  where  he  wrote  his  thesis  under 
August  Vollmer,  on  policing  state  and  federal  rec 
reation  areas.  He  then  taught  physical  education  in 
the  Berkeley  school  system  for  20  years,  followed  by 
19  years  of  service  as  a  Junior  high  school  counselor. 

Mr.  Parker  has  authored  materials  in  both  the  edu 
cation  and  police  fields.  In  policing,  he  is  author 
of  Crime  Fighter :  August  Vollmer  and  co-author  with 
Mr.  Vollmer  of  two  books:  Crime  and  the  State  Police 
and  Crime.  Crooks  and  Cops.  Mr.  Parker  has  Ju»t 
completed  The  Berkeley  Police  Story. 

Mr.  Parker  recalls  his  earliest  association  with 
Mr.  Vollmer:  Joint  preparation  of  an  article  on  lie 
detectors.  He  then  explains  that  he  decided  to  return 
to  the  University  in  1931  for  his  M.A.  where  he 
worked  with  Vollmer  on  Crime  and  the  State  Police 
and  on  his  master's  degree . 

Parker  continues  by  discussing  Vollmer 's  outstanding 
intellectual  and  personal  qualities.  He  also  mentions 
that  Vollmer  was  a  physically  Impressive  man. 


Alfred  Parker  (contd. ) 

Mr.  Parker  turns  his  attention  to  memories  of  a  trip 
to  Parker's  Catalina  Island  home.  The  interview 
continues  with  discussion  of  Vollmer's  life  history, 
principles  and  professional  influence. 

Mr.  Parker  recalls  the  physical  appearance  of 
Vollmer's  study.  He  discusses  Vollmer's  liking  for, 
and  friendliness  toward,  neighborhood  children.  He 
offers  his  opinion,  as  a  former  physical  education 
instructor,  that  Vollmer  could  have  been  a  superior 
athlete  if  he  had  the  opportunity  for  training.  As 
it  was,  Parker  states,  his  athletic  abilities  were 

Parker  describes  Vollmer's  home  briefly,  and  turns  to 
a  discussion  of  the  police  surveys  done  by  Vollmer 
and  his  men.  He  emphasizes  that  one  of  Vollmer's 
major  goals  was  removing  police  work  from  all  political 
influence . 

The  tape  continues  with  a  description  by  Mr.  Parker  of 
Vollmer's  role  in  the  preparation  of  the  Wickersham 
Report  and  in  instituting  reforms  in  California  law 
enforcement.  Mr.  Parker  touches  on  Vollmer's  efforts 
against  the  gambling  clubs  in  Bneryville.  He  closes 
with  an  explanation  of  how  he  wrote  his  book  on  Vollmer. 

Jane  Howard 


Parker:  I  first  met  August  Vollmer  in  1920  and  we  met  each  other  several  times 
after  that  and  became  good  friends.  Then  in  192U,  I  thought  of  writing 
a  magazine  article  about  Vollmer.  I  vent  to  his  office  and  we  spent 
two  or  three  hours  doing  the  interview.  Later,  I  sold  the  article  to 
a  magazine  in  the  east. 

I  remember,  when  the  interview  was  over,  Vollmer  picked  up  eight  or 
ten  magazines  and  two  or  three  books.  I  said,  "What  are  you  going  to 
do  with  those?"  "Well"  he  said,  "that's  my  homework  for  tonight."  He 
told  me  at  that  time  that  he  never  vent  to  bed  before  twelve  o'clock 
and  sometimes  later.  He  said  he  was  always  studying  and  had  an  armful 
of  books  or  magazines  that  he  took  home. 

JRH:  What  were  you  writing  on? 
Parker:  The  title  of  the  article  was  "You  Can't  Fool  the  Lie  Detector." 

In  1931,  I  went  back  to  the  University  to  take  courses  for  my  M.A.  degree. 
I  signed  for  a  course  with  Vollmer  on  Police  Administration.  My  original 
major  had  been  in  the  Political  Science  Department.  So  we  worked  in 
this  course  and  started  research  to  develop  a  book  called  "Crime  and  State 
Police"  which  was  published  by  the  University  of  California  Press.  Also, 
in  addition  to  that  I  had  to  write  a  thesis  and  Vollmer  suggested  the 
title,  "Policing  Federal  and  State  Recreation  Areas."  So,  I  started 
digging  up  information  on  that  subject  and  it  was  accepted  as  my  thesis. 
Interestingly,  about  two  or  three  years  later  the  University  Library 
called  me  and  wanted  to  know  if  they  could  make  duplicate  copies  of  this 
thesis,  they  had  so  many  calls  for  it.  So  there  are  a  number  of  copies 
at  the  University. 

Vollmer  was  a  great  inspiration  to  me.  Through  the  years  we  had  many 
conferences  together  in  his  home  and  we  became  real  friends  and  he  was, 
In  my  opinion,  a  genius.  I've  heard  of  a  lot  of  definitions  of  genius: 
95Jt  hard  work  and  5/J  inspiration,  but  I  would  say  that  he  was  100%  hard 
work  and  100%  inspiration.  I'm  sure  that  he  would  have  been  a  success  in 
any  field.  He  lectured  later  at  the  Medical  School  at  the  University  of 
California  in  San  Francisco.  He  studied  law  and  could  have  passed  the 
Bar,  but  he  didn't  have  time.  He  was  too  busy.  He  got  all  be  wanted  to 
know  about  law  so  that  it  would  help  him  as  Chief  of  Police.  He  was 
really  a  psychiatrist  in  a  way  because  of  his  studies. 

Another  thing  that  impressed  me  about  him  was  his  terrific  memory.  We'd 
be  talking  in  his  study  and  he'd  mention  something  and  he  said,  "I  know 
that  there's  a  certain  thing  that  I  want  to  tell  you  about.11  He'd  go 
pick  up  a  book  and  turn  to  the  page  and  show  you  what  this  author  had 

Parker:  I  remember  that  he  left  for  the  Philippines  during  the  Spanish-American 
War.  His  mother  gave  him  a  Bible  and  along  irlth  a  friend  of  hit  they 
sat  on  the  deck  of  the  ship  (it  took  a  long  time  to  get  to  the  Philippines 
in  those  days)  and  they  read  the  Bible  clear  through.  He'd  quote 
passage  after  passage  from  that  one  reading.  It  vat  terrific,  the  memory 
that  he  had,  which  certainly  was  a  great  advantage. 

His  personality  really  Impressed  me,  he  was  a  big  man,  over  six  feet, 
broad-shouldered.  His  clothes  —  he  always  wore  a  uniform  when  the 
members  of  the  Department  had  inspection  day,  but  otherwise  he  wore 
business  suits,  usually  gray  or  blue,  his  necktie  neatly  up  against  the 
collar.  He  was  a  veil  groomed  man. 

JRH:  Was  he  dark  haired  or  fair  haired? 

Parker:  I  would  say  dark  haired  when  he  was  a  young  man,  then  gray  and  he  kept 
his  hair  quite  well  in  later  years.  His  personal  characteristics  that 
attracted  people  were:  he  was  interested  in  people,  friendly  with  them, 
and  he  wanted  to  help  people,  he  had  a  nice  smile.  His  voice  was  com 
manding,  he  made  a  great  impression  on  people  when  he'd  walk  into  a 
room,  I  noticed  that.  He  really  had  the  type  of  personality  that  at 
tracted  people  and  they  liked  him. 

JRH:  Tou  mentioned  that  he  wore  business  suits.  Would  most  Chiefs  of  Police 
wear  business  suits  or  would  they  wear  uniforms? 

Parker:  Well,  I  think  he  started  the  idea  of  wearing  a  business  suit  because  he 
found  out  —  when  he  first  started  in  he  wore  his  uniform  more,  but  as 
time  went  on  he  found  out  that  he  was  a  business  executive  and  he  had 
to  run  this  department  and  he  had  to  meet  the  public.  There  were  so 
many  instances  where  he  didn't  need  to  have  on  a  uniform  and  it  was  a 
practice  carried  on  in  the  Berkeley  Department  and  I  think  in  a  lot  of 
departments  because  it's  the  way  that  the  job  of  Police  Chief  has  devel 
oped  all  over  the  country. 

Through  the  years  we  became  friendly,  both  my  wife  and  I,  and  also 
Vollmer's  wife  Pat.  They  were  in  our  home  many  times  for  dinner  and  we 
were  at  their  place  many  times.  One  of  his  favorite  dishes  was  bouillabaisa 
and  he  used  to  wrap  a  towel  around  our  necks  when  we  were  eating  to 
protect  our  clothes. 

JRH:  Did  he  cook  himself? 
Parker:  Tes,  he  was  a  pretty  good  cook. 

I  remember  my  wife's  folks  owned  a  home  at  Catalina  Island.  In  fact, 
we  still  do.  We  Invited  the  Vollmers  down  there  and  he  was  there  for 
several  days.  One  of  my  best  friends  at  Catalina  was  Judge  Ernest  Windle 
and  he  was  a  great  student  of  criminology  and  law.  Being  a  Judge,  he 
needed  that  information.  He  was  fascinated  to  have  Vollmer  for  a  visit. 
The  Judge  took  the  two  of  us  in  his  car  down  the  middle  of  the  Island 
and  he  also  took  a  rifle  along  and  some  bullets  because  there's  wild 

Parker:   hogs  on  the  Island  and  you're  allowed  to  hunt.  So  we  got  down  there 
and  the  Judge  said,  "Veil,  Chief,  would  you  like  to  see  if  we  can 
find  a  wild  hog  and  you  can  shoot  it?"  He  said,  "Oh  no,  it's  much 
more  interesting  to  talk  about  criminology."  So  he  passed  that  one 
up,  and  the  Judge  remarked  about  that  for  years  later.  He  felt  that 
was  really  sonething  because  in  his  younger  days  and  later  too,  I 
guess,  Vollmer  was  an  expert  pistol  shot.  In  fact,  he  started  that  in 
the  Department,  having  the  men  practice  on  a  pistol  range.  He  had  to 
shoot  a  pistol  himself  a  few  times  when  he  was  chasing  a  criminal. 

JRH:  He  was  never  a  patrolman  at  all,  was  he? 
Parker:  Ho,  he  wasn't. 

In  1905,  Friend  W.  Richardson,  who  owned  the  Berkeley  Daily  Gazette 
called  him  in;  I  think  Vollmer  was  peddling  mail  then.  Richardson 
wanted  Vollmer  to  run  for  town  Marshal.  He  at  first  laughed  at  the 
idea  and  his  family  thought  that  it  was  a  crazy  idea.   Several  other 
people  along  with  Friend  Richardson  persuaded  him  to  do  it.  He  had 
made  quite  a  record  in  the  Spanish  American  War.  He'd  gone  on  one  ex 
pedition  all  by  himself  with  somebody  running  a  boat  up  the  river  to 
locate  some  of  the  enemy  that  they  wanted  to  ferret  out.  He  had  to 
hide  under  hay  in  the  boat  at  times.  Anyway,  they  located  the  enemy 
and  they  conquered  them. 

He  had  this  record  of  bravery  behind  him;  he  was  well  liked  in  the 
town.  He  was  a  volunteer  fireman  and  so  Richardson  finely  persuaded 
him,  and  he  said  that  he  would  run,  but  he  knew  he  wouldn't  be  elected. 
Well,  he  was  elected  by  a  terrific  margin  and  at  the  end  of  two  years 
they  wanted  him  to  run  again  and  he  did. 

By  that  time,  he  got  really  interested.  I  suppose  that  you  would  say 
that  when  he  was  a  Town  Marshal  and  in  his  first  years  as  Chief  of 
Police  he  was  out  with  the  men  a  lot  on  patrol,  but  he  was  never  actually 
a  patrolman. 

Vollmer 's  principles,  what  he  stood  for,  right  from  the  start,  even 
when  he  was  Town  Marshal,  was  practicing  the  Golden  Rule.  He  was 
determined  later  that  he  would  try  to  professionalize  the  police  force 
and  see  that  they  got  all  the  possible  education  they  could  so  that 
they'd  be  able  to  meet  all  the  situations. 

His  biggest  influence,  I  would  say,  on  policing  in  the  United  States, 
was  all  the  different  "firsts"  that  he  started.  For  one  thing,  he  in 
stalled  the  first  red  light,  flashing  signal  in  the  United  States;  he 
installed  centralized  record  systems,  and  he  organized  the  first 
bicycle  patrol,  the  first  motorcycle  patrol  and  the  first  motorized 
police  force.  He  started  a  radio  car,  in  an  old  Model  T.  Ford,  so  that 
they  could  have  contact  with  their  men  in  the  cars.  He  started  the  first 
Police  School  in  Berkeley,  and  all  of  this  had  its  effect  nationally, 
and  of  course,  in  1922  he  was  President  of  the  International  Association 
of  Chiefs  of  Police. 

Parker:  His  influence  in  Berkeley  was  great  and  he  was  sought  for  advice  by 
all  kinds  of  people,  for  problems  other  than  police  problems.  He 
was  one  person  who  was  not  shunned  by  the  local  citizens  and  in  1931 
he  received  the  Wheeler  Award.  The  Benjamin  I.  Whetler  Award  is  for 
being  Berkeley's  most  noted  citizen,  nationally  and  internationally. 

In  Alameda  County  he  was  in  the  Officer's  Association  of  the  county. 

He  was  sought  for  advice  by  other  police  chiefs  in  the  county  and  he 
cooperated  with  them. 

He  was  first  called  a  "boy-Marshal";  then,  they  started  sending  re 
porters  from  magazines  in  the  East,  and  the  newspaper  syndicates. 
When  they  found  out  that  this  fellow  really  had  something,  he  got  a 
national  reputation;  pretty  soon  there  were  police  chiefs  from  all 
over  the  United  States  visiting  him  and  from  China  and  foreign 
countries.  Every  year  they  would  come  to  visit  his  department  and 
talk  to  him.  So  he  became  an  influence  in  police  work  all  over  the 

In  the  many  conferences  that  we  had  in  his  study,  in  his  home  on 
Euclid  Avenue,  I  was  fascinated  with  the  type  of  study  that  he  had,  the 
physical  make-up  of  it.  He  had  a  nice  fireplace  at  the  end  of  the 
room,  and  he  had  a  picture  of  the  redwoods  above  the  fireplace  and 
around  one  wall  he  had  all  kinds  of  books,  hundreds  of  books,  every 
thing  you  could  think  of!  Then  he  had  a  big  flat-top  desk.  There  was 
a  piano  in  there.  He  was  musical.  He  played  a  guitar  when  he  was 
young  and  there  was  one  of  his  old  friends,  Erma  Mazza,  who  came  over 
and  played  the  piano  and  he  played  the  guitar.  Off  of  this  study,  which 
was  really  in  the  basement,  was  another  big  room  and  he  had  shelf 
after  shelf  reaching  to  the  ceiling.  He  had  hundreds  of  police  reports 
from  all  over  the  world,  from  every  country  that  you  could  think  of. 
When  we  were  talking  or  doing  research  on  our  book,  "Crime,  Crooks  and 
Cops"  that  we  wrote  together,  he'd  think  of  something  and  he'd  go  into 
this  room  and  he'd  pull  out  a  pamphlet  and  say,  "I  think  I  saw  that 
in  such  and  such  a  report"  —  and  we'd  have  the  information. 

Another  thing  that  interested  me  was  his  liking  for  children.   I  don't 
think  I  was  ever  at  his  study,  particularly  in  the  afternoon,  when 
it  was  after  school  hours,  there  would  be  a  tap,  tap,  tap  on  the  out 
side  door.  He'd  go  to  the  door  and  there'd  be  three  or  four  boys, 
eight  or  ten  years  old  and  he'd  have  a  round  dish  and  he'd  greet  them 
with  a  nice  Jovial  voice  and  ask  them  how  they  were  getting  along. 
He'd  pull  off  the  cover  of  this  dish  and  he'd  *ive  them  some  candy  and 
then  he  would  say  "Now,  I'm  pretty  busy  today,  you  come  back  and  we'll 
figure  out  some  more  puzzles  for  detective  work." 

Then  one  day,  there  was  a  tap,  tap  on  the  door  and  they  said  there's 
some  boys  up  the  street,  some  older  boys  who  are  throwing  rocks  and 
they're  trying  to  fight  with  one  of  our  pals.   So  we  went  out  and  the 
Chief  got  in  my  car  and  we  drove  about  two  blocks  up  the  street. 
He  talked  to  these  boys  and  finally  persuaded  them  that  that  was  no 
way  to  do,  picking  on  a  little  kid  and  that  they  were  older.  He  was 
very  much  interested  in  boys  and  girls  and  I  remember  that  after  I'd 






published  a  biograohy  of  Vollmer,     after  he  died,   it  was  published  by 
MacMillan  in  Ip6l,   I   rot  letters   from  several  men  and  women  who  had  been 
boys  and  girls  back  in  the  days  when  Vollmer  lived  on  Euclid.     The 
letters  told  how  much  they  thought  of  him,  and  they  called  him  "Uncle 
Gus."       He  was  an  inspiration  in  their  life. 

He  was  also  a  great  gardener,  he  did  a  lot  of  p^urdening  around  the 
house,  he   loved  birds,  he  had  several  places  where  he   fed  the  birds   and 
he  had  bird  baths  there.     Another  thing  that  I   remember  about  Vollmer 
is   the   fact  that  he  really  was   a  great  athlete. 

That's  something.      You're  the  only  one  who's   talked  about  that. 

He  didn't  have  the  opportunity  at  the  time  that  he  grew  up  to  go  to 
the  university,  he  couldn't  go  to  high  school  or  anything  like  that, 
but  he  learned  wrestling,  he  learned  boxing,   and  he  would  win  all  kinds 
of  foot  races  back  in  those  days,  and  he  learned  how  to  swim.      I  can 
remember  when  we  were  down  at  Catalina,  we  went  swimming,  and  he  swam 
a  beautiful  Australian  Crawl  stroke,  a  powerful  stroke.      Powerful 
legs  and  oowerful  arms  and  he  really  could  plow  through  the  water. 
I'm  sure  that  had  he  gone  to  a  university  he  could  have  been  a  fine 
football  player,  basketball,  baseball  —  anything  you'd  wish,  because 
he  was   a  natural  athelete.     All  of  which  I  think  didn't  do  him  any 
harm  in  being  a  leader  of  men  and  they  respected  him  for  his  physical 

I   got  the  impression   from  other  people  that  he  didn't  have  much   time 
to  en«rage  in  sports  or  anything. 

No,  he  really  didn't  because  you  see  he  lived  in  New  Orleans  and 
his   father  .    .    .   Well,  before  his    father  died,  Vollmer  was  a  little 
kid  about  eight  or  ten,  he  came  home  and  he  was  all  beat  up  and  he  had 
a  black-eye  and  a  bloody  nose. 


His    father  looked  at  him  and  he  told  him  what  had  happened  and  so  he 
said  "Ckay,  we're  going  to  fix  this."     So  he  took  him  down  to  a  pym 
instructor  and  said,   "I  want  you  to  teach  him  boxing  and  wrestling" 
and  he  told  him  "Now  August,  I  don't  want  you  when  you've  learned 
all  this  to  go  out  and  pick  a  fight  with  anybody.     But  when  you  get 
Jumped  on,  you're  going  to  defend  yourself"  and  he  certainly  did  from 
then  on. 

After  Vollmer' s    father  died,  Mrs.   Vollmer  moved  to  San  Francisco  and 
August  went  two  years   to  a  business  school  and  that  was  all  of  his 
formal  education.     Then  they  moved  over   to  Berkeley  and  he   got  a  job, 
I  think  in  a  fuel  yard;    fuel,  coal  and  wood  yard.      When  the  Spanish- 
American  War  came  along,  he  enlisted  and  when  he  came  back  he  was   a 
mailman   for  a  while  and  so  he  didn't  really  have  any  opportunity  to 
engage  in  sports   as  we  know  sports. 


When  you  knew  him,  did  he  work  out  at  all? 
gym  or  do  things  like  that? 

Did  he  come  down  to  your 

Parker:   No,  he  didn't  do  too  much  of  that,  although  he  did  a  lot  of  physical 
vork  around  the  yard.  He  kept  himself  in  good  trim  though,  did  a 
lot  of  walking.   I  remember  him  telling  me  that  in  the  early  days  when 
they  were  hunting  a  criminal,  he  would  act  as  a  detective.  He  said, 
he  was  awfully  busy  and  he  would  eat  a  big  breakfast;  he  would  eat  two 
or  three  or  four  pancakes,  five  or  six  eggs  and  milk  and  coffee  and  bacon. 
It  Just  sounded  like  an  enormous  breakfast.  But  he  had  no  lunch,  he 
never  ate  a  lunch  as  he  was  on  the  go  a  lot. 

JRH:   You  described  his  study,  I  think.  It  made  me  curious  about  what  the 
rest  of  his  home  was  like.  Could  you  give  me  an  idea? 

Parker:  Well,  they  had  a  nice  home.  Modern  furniture  and  Pat,  his  wife,  was 

meticulous  housekeeper  and  she  kept  the  place  clean.  The  study  was  down 
in  the  basement  and  the  rooms  were  upstairs .   It  was  a  modern  type 
home,  well  decorated,  modern  furniture.  She  was  particular  about  it, 
keeping  everything  clean.  She  used  to  tell  me  that  at  the  time  that 
Gus  was  making  so  many  of  these  surveys,  which  you  probably  already  have 
noted,  she  got  to  the  point  where  she  never  unpacked  her  suitcase 
because  she  didn't  know  when  they  were  going  some  place  and  he  liked  to 
have  her  along  and  so  she  said  she  Just  kept  one  suitcase  packed  and 
all  ready  to  go.  Have  you  got  anything  about  the  surveys? 

JRH:  Yes,  some  that  I  have  listed  of  where  he  went  are  Los  Angeles,  and  San 

Parker:  It's  an  interesting  thing  to  me,  that  as  these  different  police  chiefs 

came  to  talk  to  him,  they  realized,  many  of  them,  that  there  was  something 
wrong  with  their  departments  and  they  wanted  him  to  make  recommendations 
and  that's  how  the  surveys  really  started.  The  first  survey  that  he  made 
was  in  San  Diego  and  when  he  went  there  they  didn't  even  know  he  was 
in  town.  He'd  prowl  around,  get  the  picture  of  the  place  and  then  start 
studying  the  department.  You  have  a  list  of  the  surveys? 

JRH:  Let  me  see,  I  think  I  do.  It's  published  in  your  book.  They'll  be  using 
them  in  conjunction  with  the  other  things,  your  books  and  things  like 

Parker:  Well,  these  surveys  that  he  made,  it  got  to  the  point  that  there  were 
so  many  places  that  wanted  him  that  he  couldn't  go  to  all  of  these 
places,  so  he'd  select  one  of  his  captains  and  ask  him  if  he  would  go 
and  make  a  survey  and  that's  what  happened  and  the  result  was  that  his 
influence  was  all  over  the  world. 

Now,  one  fact  that  has  been  misunderstood  by  some  people.  They  thought 
that  when  he  went  to  Los  Angeles  in  1923,  he  had  left  the  Berkeley 
Police  Department  and  gone  to  Los  Angeles  to  bicome  their  permanent 
chief  of  police.  That  was  not  so.  He  became  their  chief  of  police, 
that  was  correct,  but  he  agreed  that  he  would  go  there  only  for  one 
year  and  he  did.  He  went  there  for  one  year,  he  studied  the  situation, 
he  wrote  a  five  or  six  hundred  page  report  and  a  recommendation  on 
what  should  be  done  in  the  Los  Angeles  Police  Department.  After  he  left 
the  next  chief  of  police,  I  can't  remember  his  name,  put  the  report  on 
a  shelf  and  it  began  to  gather  dust.  They  didn't  do  anything  about  it. 

Parker:  Then,  a  later  chief  of  police  came  alonp  and  he  pulled  that  report 
down  and  he  put  into  practice  practically  everything  that  he 
recommended.  Many  an  officer  in  the  Berkeley  Police  Department  has 
been  proud  of  the  fact  that  L.A.  has  one  of  the  finest  police  departments 
in  the  world.  They  carried  out  everything  that  Vollmer  had  suggested 
and  really  made  a  great  department  out  of  it,  but  at  first  they  Just 
shoved  the  report  aside,  which  is  what  happens  sometimes. 

«TRH:   I  was  p.ointr,  to  ask  you  one  of  the  things  that  you  said  when  Gene  Carte 
and  I  came  originally,  that  Vollmer  always  fought  politics.  He  had 
an  awful  lot  of  influence,  I  don't  know  whether  or  not  you'd  call  it 
political,  but  he  created  a  lot  of  change  in  the  way  policing  was  done. 
What  do  you  mean? 

Parker:  Well,  the  thing  that  he  was  particularly  opposed  to  was  the  fact  that 
you  can't  select  a  police  force  or  a  chief  of  police,  by  political 
influence.  He  goes  on  to  show  in  the  many  of  his  surveys  or  talks  that 
many  of  the  police  chiefs  around  the  country  were  selected  because  the 
man  was  a  good  barber  or  a  good  tailor  or  a  good  groceryman  or  a  good 
something  else;  he  was  Just  a  political  follower  and  one  who  was  up  in 
Politics  and  so  he  was  made  a  chief  of  police.  That  was  what  he  was 
opposed  to  and,  of  course,  he  was  in  favor  of  high  training  and  ex 
perience  for  police  chiefs  and  for  all  police.  That's  what  Vollmer 
meant,  you  can't  mix  politics  with  police  work.  Another  thing  Vollmer 
would  not  permit  was  police  taking  bribes.  His  policemen  were  never 
permitted  to  take  a  present.  Do  you  know  anything  about  the  report  on 
police  that  he  wrote? 

JRH:  No,  I  don't  know  anything  about  that. 

Parker:  Well,  there  was  a  national  commission  on  law  observance  and  enforcement 
established  by  Herbert  Hoover  and  George  W.  Wickersham  was  the  chair 
man.  They  went  into  many  phases  of  the  crime  problems  that  were  in 
1931.  The  pamphlet  is  titled:  Report  On  Police.  Quite  a  bit  of  infor 
mation  in  this  pamphlet  is  evidence  of  the  fact  that  Vollmer  had  a 
national  influence  as  well  as  local.  For  instance,  on  page  M  he 
listed  the  chiefs  of  police  of  the  city  of  Chicago  and  shows  how  many 
police  chiefs  they  had  from  the  beginning.  Sometimes  they  wouldn't 
be  in  office  more  than  two  or  three  years  and  they'd  appoint  another  one. 
They  were  all  political  appointments. 

His  influence  in  the  state  of  California  was  great  too.   In  1915  he 
assisted  in  preparing  a  bill  for  creation  of  a  psychiatric  clinic  in 
San  Quentin  and  that  bill  was  passed.  He  was  also  influential  in  the 
state  police  officers 'association.  Again,  men  from  all  over  the  state 
came  to  him  for  advise.  He  was  thoroughly  sold  on  police  work  and 
trying  to  elevate  police  into  a  real  profession  and,  to  me,  his  whole 
life  was  an  example  of  the  fact  that  if  you  really  get  wrapped  up 
in  something  and  you're  thinking  about  it  a  lot  you  can't  help  but 
be  successful. 

JRH:   I  was  going  to  ask  you  not  so  much  about  the  state,  but  you  mentioned 
before  there  had  been  problems  with  gambling  before  he  was  elected 
Town  Marshal. 


Parker:     That's  right,  there  were  a  lot  of  lotteries   and  crooks,  and  that's  one 
of  the   reasons  why  they  wanted  a  fellow  like  Vollmer  who  was   a  brave 
man  to  clean  up  these  gambling  dens. 

JRH:     Was  this  aa  early  as  1910? 

Parker:     Ho,  1905.     This  was  when  he  was    first  elected  marshal. 
JRH:      I'd  heard  about  in  the   30's  but  not   .... 

Parker:     No,  this  was  1905.     This  was  one  of  his   first  Jobs   and  gamblers   tried 

to  offer  him  big  bribes.     He  wouldn't  have  anything  to  do  with  them  and 
he  went  in  personally  himself,   leading  his  men  into  these  gambling  places, 
In   fact,  they  had  to  go  from  a  roof  through  a  window  into  the  building 
on  a  plank  on  a  cold  foggy  dark  night  to  get  into  one  gambling  place, 
and  they  arrested  everybody  in  the  place.     However,  the  gamblers  had 
gotten  rid  of  a  lot  of  the  evidence.     That  was  one  of  the  early  facts 
that  Vollmer  learned.     You've  got  to  have  evidence  if  you're  going  to 
really  convict  someone. 

Vollmer  had  all  kinds  of  friends,   I  think  the  reason  that  he  did  was 
genuine  interest  in  people.     He  was   a  good  listener  and  when  he  was 
asked  for  advice  and  he  gave  it,  it  was   good  sound  advice.      He  was  well 

JRH:      One  thing  you  mentioned  before,  when  a  number  of  people  were  in  your 

gym  classes  they  later  went  on  into  police  work.      Do  you  remember  some 
of  the  people  who  did  that? 

Parker:     When  I  started  working  on  my  latest  book  which  is  entitled  "The  Berk 
eley  Police  Story",  in  1967,  I  went  down  into  the  police  department. 
I  had  thought  of  the  idea  of  writing  a  complete  story  of  the  Berkeley 
police   from  1905  to  the  present  time.     So  I  went  into  see  William  Beall, 
the  police  chief,  who  was  a  former  memeber  of  one  of  my  gym  classes   at 
Berkeley  High  School.     He  was  tickled  to  death.     He  said,   "Al,  this   is 
exactly  what  we  want  and  I'll  cooperate  with  you  in  any  way  that  I 
can  to  get  the  information".      So  he  appointed  Sgt.  Merritt  Thomas, 
my  liaison  officer  and  he  introduced  me  to  all  the  different  captains 
and  took  me   down  to  the  basement  and  showed  me  the  old  files.     They 
assigned  me  a  desk  and  I  went  to  work  and  I  worked  for  three  and  a  half 
years   researching  and  writing  this  book.     So  I  had  a  lot  of  cooperation. 
Captain  Richard  Young,  who  at  the  time  that   I  started  working  on   the 
book  was  the  Captain  of  the  Service  Division,  was   a  former  member  of  my 
gym  class  at  Berkeley  High.      I  can't  think  of  any  others  riptit  now. 

JRH:      Those  are  all  the  questions   I  have,  I   guess  you've  gotten  to  the  end  of 
your  outline. 

Parker:     Yes,  I  believe  so. 

INDEX  —  Alfred  Parker 

Alameda  County  Officers  Association,  U 
athletics,  5 

Beall,  William,  8 
Berkeley,  City  of 

Police  Department,  6,  7 

tovn  marshal,  3,  i,  7,  8 
Berkeley  Daily  Gazette.  3 
Berkeley  Police  Story.  The,  8 

Chicago  police  chiefs,  7 
Catalina  Island,  2,  5 
Crime  and  State  Police,  1 
Crime.  Crooks  and  Cops,  k 

gambling,  8 
"Golden  Rule",  3 

Hoover,  Herbert,  7 

Los  Angeles  Police  Department,  6-7 
Los  Angeles  police  survey,  6 

MacMillan  Company,  5 
Mazza,  Erma,  k 

Philippines,  The,  2 

police  procedures,  3,  7,  8 

Policing  Federal  and  State  Recreation  Areas.  1 

Report  on  Police.  7 
Richardson,  Friend  W. ,  3 

San  Diego  police  survey,  6 

San  Quentin  psychiatric  clinic,  7 

Spanish-American  War,  2,  3,  5 

Thomas,  Merritt,  8 

University  of  California  at  Berkeley,  1 

Police  Administration,  1 

Political  Science  Department,  1 
University  of  California  Medical  School,  San  Francisco,  1 


University  of  California  Press,  1 
Vollmer,  Millicent  "Pat",  2,  6 

Windle,  Ernest.  2 

Wheeler  Award  (Benjamin  Ide),  U 

Wickersham,  George  W. ,  7 

You  Can't  Fool  The  Lie  Detector.  1 
Young,  Richard,  8 



1.  What  was  your  personal  relation  to  Vollmer? 

How  did  you  get  to  know  him? 

In  what  capacities  did  you  work  with  or  see  him? 
What  impact  did  he  have  on  your  life,  both  your 
personal  life  and  your  professional  development? 

2.  What  kind  of  a  man  was  Vollmer? 

How  did  he  impress  you  —  what  did  he  look  like,  sound  like, 


How  do  you  think  he  impressed  others? 
What  personal  characteristics  do  you  think  he  had  that  made 

him  an  influential  man? 

3.  What  anecdotes  and  stories  do  you  recall  from  your  own  contacts  or 
others'  stories  that  give  a  particularly  good  idea  of  the  kind  of 
man  Vollmer  was? 

U.  How  did  Vollmer  relate  to  the  people  he  dealt  with  on  a  frequent 
and  close  basis? 

To  friends? 

To  employees? 

To  professional  colleagues? 

5.  In  what  ways  was  Vollmer  influential  in  the  community? 

In  Berkeley? 

In  Alaneda  County? 

6.  In  what  ways  was  Vollmer  influential  in  and  involved  in  events  in 
the  state? 

7.  What  was  Vollmer 's  professional  impact? 

What  were  the  major  ideas  and  principles  that 

Vollmftr  stood  for? 
What  were  the  major  influences  Vollmer  had  on  policing, 

education,  and  training?  On  other  areas? 

8.  Are  there  other  people  that  had  a  significant  relationship  with 
Voll»er  that  you  think  would  be  available  for  an  interview  as 
part  of  this  project? 



1.  What  was  your  personal  relation  to  Vollmer? 

How  did  you  get  to  know  him? 

In  what  capacities  did  you  work  with  or  see  him? 
What  impact  did  he  have  on  your  life,  both  your 
personal  life  and  your  professional  development? 

2.  What  kind  of  a  man  was  Vollmer? 

How  did  he  impress  you  —  what  did  he  look  like,  sound 

like,  etc.? 

How  do  you  think  he  impressed  others? 
What  personal  characteristics  do  you  think  he  had  that 

made  him  an  influential  man? 

3.  What  anecdotes  and  stories  do  you  recall  from  your  own  contacts  or 
others'  stories  that  give  a  particularly  good  idea  of  the  kind  of 
man  Vollraer  was? 

i*.  What  was  Vollmer1 s  professional  impact? 

What  were  the  major  ideas  and  principles  that  Vollner 

stood  for? 
What  were  the  major  influences  Vollmer  had  on  policing, 

education,  and  training?  On  other  areas? 

5.  In  what  ways  was  Vollmer  influential  in  and  involved  in  events 
in  the  state? 

6.  In  what  ways  was  Vollmer  influential  in  the  community? 

In  Berkeley? 

In  Alameda  County? 

7.  How  did  Vollmer  relate  to  the  people  he  dealt  with  on  a  frequent  and 
close  basis? 

8.  Are  there  other  people  that  had  a  significant  relationship  with  Vollmer 
that  you  think  would  be  available  for  an  interview  as  part  of  this 


August  Vollmer  Historical  Project  Interview  Participants 


1.   I— June  29,  1971 
II— June  30,  1971 

2.  July  2,  1971 

3.  July  6,  1971 
U.  July  8,  1971 

5.  July  15,  1971 

6.  July  23,  1971 

7.  August  9,  1971 

8.  August  9,  1971 

9.  August  9,  1971 

10.  August  27,  1971 

11.  September  ifc,  1971 

12.  September  18,  1971 

John  Holstrom 

O.W.  Wilson 
Milton  Chemin 
General  William  Dean 
Rose  Glavinovich 
Gene  Woods 
Al  Co  f  fey 
George  Brereton 
Thomas  Hunter 
Willard  Schmidt 
Muriel  Hunter 
Alfred  Parker 


Born:  October  27,  19*»3 
Raised:  Washington,  D.C. 


B.A. ,  Smith  College,  Northampton,  Massachusetts,  June  1965,  English  major 

M.S.W.,  University  of  California,  Berkeley 

Social  work  administration  and  community  organization  major 

Postmaster's  internship  in  the  University  of  California  Professional 
Schools  Program  in  India,  June  1968-March  1969- 

Nine  month  postmaster's  program  with  selected  representatives 
from  each  of  the  University  of  California's  professional 
schools.  Internship  combining  field  work  at  the  Delhi  School 
of  Social  Work  and  academic  courses  on  the  culture,  government, 
economic  development ,  and  history  of  India. 


January  to  June  1966:  Administrative  assistant  in  Cambridge,  Massachusetts 
Economic  Opportunity  Program. 

September  1969-March  1971:  Organization  for  Business,  Economic  and 

Community  Advancement,  Inc.,  291»0-l6th  St.,  San  Francisco.  Project 
coordinator  for  a  Department  of  Labor-funded  program  developing  new 
health  careers  in  San  Francisco  hospitals  and  social  service  agencies, 
and  training  Mission  District  residents  for  these  careers.  Duties 
included  trainee  counselling  and  evaluation,  proposal  writing,  and 
placement  development  and  evaluation. 

September  1971-Present :  Supplementary  Training  Associates,  2801  San  Pablo 
Avenue,  Berkeley.  Regional  representative  supervising  9  Headstart 
and  Followthrough  Supplementary  Training  Programs,  Office  of  Education 
and  Office  of  Child  Development-funded  projects  through  which  Headstart 
and  Followthrough  staff  can  work  toward  college  degrees.  Responsibilities 
for  these  nine  programs  (which  serve  an  average  of  100  staff  members), 
include  negotiating  subcontracts  with  universities,  training  and 
technical  assistance  to  HS  staffs  in  using  the  program,  monitoring 
and  evaluation  of  the  programs,  and  assisting  the  universities  in 
developing  new  and  innovative  program  proposals. 


"Indian  Society,  Indian  Social  Work:  Identifying  Indian  Principles  and  Methods 
for  Social  Work  Practice,"  under  maiden  name,  Jane  Howard,  International 
Social  Work,  Volume  XIV,  No.  U,  1971. 

Jane  Hovard  Robinson 

PUBLICATIONS  (contd. ) 

"August  Vollner:  Pioneer  in  Police  Professionalism,"  a  series  of  12  inter 
views  with  police  and  university  personnel,  on  the  life  and  career  of 
August  Vollmer,  Chief,  Berkeley  Police  Department,  1905-1932,  and  founder 
of  the  University  of  California's  School  of  Criminology.  To  be  published 
Fall  1972,  by  the  University  of  California,  Regional  Oral  History  Office 
of  the  Bancroft  Library. 


University  of  California  Professional  Schools  Program  representative  from 
the  School  of  Social  Welfare,  September  1968-March  1969. 

Ford  Foundation  fellowship  for  living  expenses  in  India. 
NDEA  language  study  fellowship  for  Hindi -Urdu,  Summer  1966. 

University  of  California,  School  of  Social  Welfare,  1967-8. 

Ford  Foundation  fellowship  for  students  interested  in 
careers  in  international  development. 


National  Association  of  Social  Workers 

Life  Member,  Delhi  School  of  Social  Work  Society 


Undergraduate:  Smith  College,  Northampton,  Massachusetts 
Graduate:  University  of  California,  School  of  Social  Welfare,  Berkeley 
Professional:  Masato  Inaba  or  Leandro  Soto,  OBECA/Arriba  Juntos,  291»0-l6th  St., 

Room  10U,  San  Francisco,  Calif. 

The  research  for  this  study  was  made  possible  by  a 
fellowship  from  the  National  Institute  of  Law  Enforcement 
and  Criminal  Justice,  Law  Enforcement  Assistance 
Administration,  during  the  years  1969  -  1971.     The 
writer  acknowledges  with  gratitude  the  support  and 
encouragement  he  has  received  from  the  Institute. 






The  Professional  Police  Model 1 

Professionalism  in  a  Criminal  Justice 

Context  - 4 

Policing's  First  Professional  — - --9 

Design  of  the  Paper  --. 12 

Future  Research  Goals 15 



The  Evolution  of  the  Municipal  Police 

Function -18 

American  versus  Foreign  Police  Models- 23 

The  Movement  for  Government  Reform- -33 

The  Effect  of  Civil  Service  Reform- 35 

Trade  Unionism  and  the  Boston  Police  Strike--  38 

Summary ...45 

The  California  Setting 46 



1905:  The  Berkeley  Campaign  for  Marshal 50 

Vollmer's  Background 55 

Early  Years  of  Innovation -57 

Personnel  Reform -67 

"College  Cops"  - -72 

Berkeley  as  a  Training  Ground  for  Police 

Leaders 78 

Community  Involvement  and  Press  Relations  --  84 

Association  with  Earl  Warren 89 

The  Quality  of  Berkeley  Policing  under 

Vollmer- -91 



Professional  Efforts  in  California 97 

National  Efforts  toward  Police  Centralization-  102 
A  Spokesman  for  Police  Professionalism  ----  106 


The  Year  in  Los  Angeles 112 

Vollmer's  Work  as  a  Police  Consultant-- 119 

The  Wickersham  Report 124 

The  Years  as  a  Research  Professor  and 

Writer  - 129 


Definition  of  Vollmer's  Police  Profession 
alism -141 

Changes  in  Police  Priorities 143 

Major  Crimes . 150' 

Vice  Law  Enforcement 156 

Traffic  Regulation- 165 

General  Service 168 

Personnel- 172 

Vollmer's  View  of  Policing  in  a  Changing 

Society 176 

Limitations  of  Vollmer's  Professional 

Policing 179 

Summary 189 



Civic  and  Moral  Reformers 198 

Public  Support  for  Police  Professionalism- 207 

Police  Professionalism:    The  Changing 

Historical  Mandate 214 


Some  Positive  Aspects  of  Professionalism---  221 

Detachment  versus  Participation 224 

Centralization  versus  Home  Rule- 228 

The  Crime  Fighter  versus  the  Miscellaneous 

Public  Functionary 232 



"Chronology  of  the  Career  of  August 





"Changes  in  Public  Attitudes  toward  the 
Police:    A  Comparison  of  Surveys  Dated  • 
1938  and  1971"  by  Gene  E.   Carte 







Gene  E.  Carte,  School  of  Criminology 

This  paper  explores  the  roots  of  professionalism 

as  a  model  for  American  municipal  policing  by  focusing 

upon  the  career  of  August  Vollmer,  who  served  as  police 


chief  of  Berkeley,   California,   from  1905  to  1932.     By  the 
1920s  Vollmer  was  established  as  the  foremost  American 
police  spokesman,  and  was  a  strong  advocate  of  the  appli 
cation  of  the  professional  model  to  policing. 


Two  perspectives  are  employed  for  the  study:    an 
intensive  examination  of  the  actual  work  and  ideas  of  Vollmer, 
as  evidenced  in  the  Berkeley  department  and  in  his  national 

•  • 


role  as  an  educator,  police  consultant,  and  writer;  and  an 
examination  of  the  historical  setting  within  which  profession 
alism  was  developed.    Materials  used  for  the  examination  of 


Vollmer 's  career  include  oral  interviews  with  his  former 
colleagues  and  associates;  personal  papers  and  correspondence; 
and  published  sources.     The  analysis  of  the  historical  setting 

*-  • 

draws  upon  literature  in  sociology  and  policing  dealing  with 

American  municipal  government  and  criminal  justice  from  the 


last  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century  through  the  1930s. 

The  study  contends  that  police  professionalism  arose 

in  response  to  several  definite  historical  trends:    1)  the 

ambivalent  pressures  placed  on  policing  by  moral  an<*  civic 

reformers,   corrupt  municipal  officials,   and  heterogeneous 
urban  populations;    2)  the  closing  of  trade  unionism  as  a 
method  for  the  redress  of  police  grievances  following  the 
suppression  of  the  Boston  Police  Strike  in  1919;    3)  and  the 
failure  of  civil  service  reform  to  meet  the  basic  police 
problems  of  insecure  tenure,  political  influence,  and  incom 

•  r 

It  is  the  further  contention  of  the  study  that  Vollmer's 
model  of  police  professionalism  contained  within  it  serious 
contradictions.    The  most  fundamental  of  these  was  the  con 
flict  between  the  detached  stance  of  the  professional  and  the 

/• ' 

.^if   continuing  need  for  policing  to  adjust  to  social  flux  within  the 
community.    A  correlative  conflict  was  the  incompatibility 


of  the  crime -fighting  priority  with  the  actual  role  of  the 
policeman  as  a  miscellaneous  government  functionary. 


The  professional  model  in  application  is  studied  through 
a  detailed  examination  of  Vollmer's  work  in  Berkeley,  where 
he  introduced  many  technological  and  managerial  innovations 
that  established  him  as  a  progressive  police  leader.     Among 

these  were  the  use  of  mobile  patrol,   recall  systems,   beat 

analysis,  modus  operandi,  scientific  detection  methods, 


and  centralized  crime  records.    Personnel  standards  were 


upgraded  through  intelligence  and  psychological  testing, 
formal  training  schools,   and  the  recruitment  of  college* 
educated  patrolmen.     The  Berkeley  department  became  a 


training  ground  for  policemen  who  joined  other  departments 
at  the  leadership  level  or  entered  careers  as  educators 'and 


writers  on  professional  policing.     The  effect  of  Vollmer's 
personality  and  leadership  skills  upon  the  Berkeley  depart 
ment  is  explored. 

•  * 

Modifications  of  the  Berkeley  model  are  examined 
as  Vollmer  applied  it  during  his  term  as  police  chief  in 
Los  Angeles  (1923-24)  and  adapted  it  in  his  writings  as  a 
consultant  to  other  urban  police  departments  and  as  an 
^    advocate  of  centralization  in  nearly  all  aspects  of  policing. 

The  paper  concludes  that  Vollmer  constructed  an 
effective  and  personal  style  of  policing  in  Berkeley  which  was 

•  . 

necessarily  altered  to  meet  the  requirements  of  heterogeneous 
urban  areas.     The  professional  model  contributed  to  the 
creation  of  an  ideology  that  reinforced  insularity  and  increased 
dependence  upon  technology  and  scientific  management  to 
solve  police  problems.    Present  public  expectations  do  not 

justify  the  continuance  of  a  model  that  is  founded  upon 
detachment  from  social  change  and  the  preselection  of 

priorities  and  police  goals. 




Jerome  H.  Skolnick 

•  K- 


13  4594